- Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed a nearly $115 billion state budget for the Fiscal Year 2023-24.
- Education will receive a $1 billion increase, with funds allocated to raise teacher salaries, increase funding for special education programs, and support mental health and safety initiatives in schools.
- Healthcare is getting a boost with more than $166 million in funding for cancer research and $531 million for behavioral health services.
- The budget also calls for tax relief measures, including a reduction of the state’s corporate tax rate, sales tax, and business rent tax, as well as increased funding for law enforcement and correctional officers, highway patrol, and infrastructure projects.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has unveiled his proposed state budget for the Fiscal Year 2023-24, totaling nearly $115 billion.
The proposal calls for a $1 billion increase in the state’s education budget, which will be used to raise the average teacher salary and increase funding for special education programs by $100 million.
The state’s K-12 public schooling system is set to receive $26 billion, with an additional $160 million set aside for mental health and safety initiatives in schools.
“We’re strong on education across the board,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis’ budget also projects student enrollment for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program at $614.5 million.
The governor’s proposal gained praise from the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union.
“Florida Education Association has been advocating for increased support for teacher prep and more flexibility for how experienced teacher salaries are calculated,” said FEA President Andrew Spar. “It is good to see these items are addressed in the governor’s proposal. Looking forward to working with the legislature on these items.”
But Spar and the FEA criticized the proposal for not including more money for educator pay increases. The union said the $200 million proposed for a teacher pay hike only amounts to about a $20 a week raise for each teacher, on average.
On the healthcare front, the budget contains $166 million in cancer research funding, with $20 million in funding to establish the Florida Cancer Innovation Fund to support cancer research. Moreover, the state will provide more than $531 million in funding to support behavioral health services statewide.
Infrastructure could see a boost as well. The proposal calls for an additional $553.2 million in scheduled repairs for 64 bridges and the replacement of 19 bridges. The budget includes $807.4 million investment in rail and transit projects and $5.4 billion for highway construction.
DeSantis also outlined a series of tax relief measures. According to the proposed budget, the state will facilitate a reduction of $100 million in the state’s corporate tax rate, a reduction of $50 million in the state’s sales tax, and a reduction of $25 million in the state’s business rent tax.
Public safety measures will also receive increased funding, with a call for $124.3 million in funding for law enforcement and correctional officers. The funds will be used to hire additional personnel and improve training and equipment.
This includes $50 million for the Florida Highway Patrol.
This is a developing story.
What about NOT using our tax dollars to pay for private education does this governor not understand? NO! NO! NO!