Florida House unveils $97 billion budget proposal

by | Mar 26, 2021


Florida House unveiled a $97.1 state budget proposal for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

With state economists projecting a $2.7 billion shortfall for this fiscal year, the House released its initial budget on Friday, choosing to make major investments in the Sunshine State’s future. GOP leaders addressed several key areas, such as allocating money for disaster preparation, improving state infrastructure, college and university repiar, boosting funding for K-12 students, and expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage.

In a press release, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, along with Chair Jay Trumbull, announced the proposed budget, saying they were putting Florida’s future first by strengthening the state’s reserves in preparation for “unexpected events” — such as hurricanes and other natural disasters — while providing additional funding for an Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.

“Today, we are delivering a budget that is adapting to this challenging moment in our state’s history – addressing critical areas of concern while maintaining fiscal responsibility,” said Sprowls. Our House’s budget proposal addresses long-term needs with strategic investments that will have lasting effects on our state residents. We were able to achieve this by making targeted reductions in areas that had the greatest flexibility, particularly in institutions that receive substantial direct federal funding, including higher education and health care. With this budget, House Members and subcommittee chairs also worked to prioritize the long-term needs of the state over their short-term personal priorities. Rather than emphasizing projects, we chose to focus on investments in broad issues to ensure that Florida’s needs – of both today and tomorrow – are met.”

The House’s proposal will invest in the state’s residents and children by increasing K-12 funding by $181 per student. The budget plans to allocate funds to locate missing students, re-enroll students and remediate learning losses. Furthermore, the proposal will not include reductions in Bright Futures tuition or fee allocations, no reductions in need-based aid, or increases in tuition.

“Our Members’ commitment to our environment, our families and communities are seen throughout this budget,” said Trumbull. “From supporting school districts as they look to locate and re-enroll students not attending class to full restoration of Florida’s transportation work program, we recognize the challenges over the past year, and we have focused on making strategic investments for Florida’s future. This is a balanced budget that reflects our belief that the state should not spend more than it takes in, and we look forward to working with our partners in the Senate to provide the best product to the Governor for his signature.”

The budget also addresses health-related issues like maternal mortality, extending postpartum Medicaid coverage from two months to a full year. On top of that, it will increase Healthy Start funds for Florida’s kids by $32 million, ensuring that they have access to the care they need.

Additionally, the budget allocates money to Florida’s rebounding tourism industry. The proposal calls for $200 million in beach replenishment and $50 million in state park maintenance. The budget also proposes $3.5 billion in funding to address state buildings and college and university facilities in disrepair and will allot $140 million each in recurring funds for affordable housing, septic-to-sewer conversions and mitigating the effects of flooding and sea level rise, as well as an additional $140 million of nonrecurring funds in each area.

Finally, the budget recommends first-time investments in Florida’s cybersecurity infrastructure to shield Floridians from future threats to their personal and confidential data.

A breakdown of the proposed $97 billion budget, which includes funding for 113,557 positions, can be seen below:

  • $34.9 billion in General Revenue
  • $24.7 billion State Trust Funds
  • $37.4 billion Federal Trust Funds

The proposal closely matches Governor Ron DeSantis‘s proposed $96.6 billion budget.

The House Proposed Committee Bill (APC 21-01) will be taken up by the House Appropriations Committee on March 31.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

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