House, Senate budgets on collision course; Visit Florida, National Guard money hang in the balance

by | Apr 4, 2023

  • On Monday, the Florida Senate passed a $113.7 billion budget proposal for 2023-2024.
  • The proposal includes increased funding for schools, prisons, healthcare providers, and state workers.
  • The Florida House is set to vote on their $113 million proposal later today.
  • The two proposals differ in areas such as funding for the Florida State Guard and tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida.

The Florida House of Representatives is expected to vote today on its version of the state budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. This comes after the Senate unanimously passed its own $113.7 billion budget proposal (SB 2500) on Monday, which includes increased funding for schools, prisons, health care providers, and pay raises for state workers.

Senator Doug Broxson lauded the Senate’s budget as a “fiscally responsible, balanced approach” that invests in key areas such as infrastructure, clean water resources, and education while maintaining a historic rainy day fund.

However, some Democrats raised concerns over areas they perceive as underfunded, including the waitlist for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ services, which currently stands at more than 22,000 people.

The Senate budget proposal includes $19.1 billion for K-12 schools, a 5.7% increase from the current year, amounting to $8,569 in per student funding. The health care portion of the budget contains $47.3 billion, featuring a $92.5 million increase in nursing home provider reimbursement rates and $123.8 million to expand graduate medical education slots to address the state’s physician shortage.

The House’s $113 billion budget proposal differs from the Senate version in several aspects. The House has proposed spending $107.9 million to expand the Florida State Guard, while also proposing a cut to state funding for the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida. The Senate, on the other hand, wants to allocate $80 million to Visit Florida and has not proposed any increase in state guard funding.

The education portion of the budget sees both the House and Senate proposing around $26.6 billion for the Florida Education Finance Program, representing a $2.1 billion increase over the current year. However, they differ in funding for the recently signed massive expansion of Florida’s school-voucher programs (HB 1), with the Senate proposing $2.2 billion and the House projecting a cost of $209.6 million.

Both chambers are expected to vote on their respective budget proposals before entering negotiations on a final spending plan after the Easter holiday break. A budget must be in place by May 2 to meet the constitutionally-required 72-hour “cooling off” period before lawmakers can vote on the budget to end the 60-day Session on time. The spending plan will govern the budget year that begins July 1.

1 Comment

  1. Basroal

    The queue for services provided by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities is presently over 22,000 persons, and several Democrats have voiced concerns about what they see as underfunded regions. @backrooms

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