Governor’s Budget Proposal 2014

Governor Rick Scott unveiled his proposal for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 on January 29th.  The $74.2 billion plan is being billed as the “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget”.  Savings for Floridians include a $400 million reduction in auto tag fees; a $100 million sales tax reduction on commercial leases; a $25,000 increase in the exemption for the corporate profits tax; and two sales tax holidays. One extends the back-to-school holiday to ten days and the other gives breaks on hurricane preparedness supplies over a fifteen day period.

Education:  A proposed $18.84 billion overall education budget includes a $542 million increase for K-12 schools which will fund anticipated new students, professional development programs, and an increase in per student spending.  Most of this increase is achieved through anticipated higher property tax growth.  The Governor has also endorsed an overall freeze on college tuition.

Children & Families:  $32 million would be allocated to hire 447 new child protective service workers.  These new hires would bolster the agency, which has been plagued by several child deaths over the last year.

Economic Incentives:  $283 million is earmarked for the 24 regional workforce boards; $30 million for high wage career job training programs; an additional $36.5 million for VISIT Florida; and $95 million for economic incentives.

 Transportation:  $8.8 billion is proposed for the Department of Transportation’s Work Program including $324.6 million for aviation improvements; $192.5 million for bridge replacements; $528 for transit program improvements; and $138.9 million for seaport improvements.

Medical Research:  Over $80 million is earmarked for cancer research programs; $3 million in funding for additional Alzheimer’s research; $49 million for child safety programs; $28.7 million for special needs adoption programs; and $27.6 million to reduce the waiting list for elderly Floridian healthcare programs.

State Workers:  The budget reduces the 111,000 workforce by only 57 positions, while proposing discretionary employee bonuses of $2,500 to $5,000 for approximately one-third of those workers.

Miscellaneous Items of Interest: 

  • $144 million to open five new correction facilities
  • $5.1 billion to increase State reserves and $170 million to reduce State debt
  • $31.59 million to benefit Florida’s 161 State Parks
  • $3.4 million to create the new Agency for State Technology to provide expertise and authority to implement future IT programs
  • $6.9 million for cultural and historical projects
  • $89.3 million for affordable housing programs
  • $18 million for weatherization grants for residential homes

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