Senate, House approve budget proposals

by | Feb 9, 2024

The Florida House and Senate have passed their FY 2024-2025 budget proposals, allocating $115.5 billion and $115.9 billion respectively.

The Florida House and Senate have each passed their versions of the state budget for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024-2025, with the House proposing $115.5 billion and the Senate proposing approximately $115.9 billion.

These figures are slightly below the current budget of $117 billion, reflecting a cautious approach due to the phasing out of federal stimulus funds and a slowdown in revenue growth, according to House Speaker Paul Renner.

The House budget was approved with a vote of 112-2, while the Senate’s proposal passed unanimously. Both budgets prioritize spending on public safety, infrastructure, and education, with the Senate version stipulating approximately $1 billion towards education, but there are differences that need reconciliation, such as approaches to capital improvements for prisons and retirement benefits for state workers.

Areas of divergence include investments in the state’s infrastructure, with the Senate proposing an initiative to earmark $100 million annually for the next 30 years towards the renovation and upgrading of Florida’s aging prison facilities. This long-term capital improvement plan is absent from the House proposal.

Another area of discrepancy lies in the treatment of state worker benefits, particularly regarding retirement. The House has introduced a proposal for a 3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for state workers enrolled in the Florida Retirement System before July 1, 2011, an initiative not mirrored in the Senate’s budget.

In December, Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered his $114.4 billion state budget recommendation for FY 2024-2025, marking a slight decrease from the year prior, alongside a projected $16.3 billion surplus.

Tax relief comprises a major component of the governor’s “Florida’s Future” budget, with more than $1.1 billion set aside. Specific measures include $431 million for reducing homeowners insurance costs and six sales tax holidays estimated to curb approximately $475 million in consumer spending. The recommendation rollout also called for $170 million in small business tax cuts and permanent tax exemption for over-the-counter pet medications.

The recommendations also propose $27.8 billion for K-12 schools, a record high, including $1.25 billion for teacher salary increases. DeSantis’ budget further calls for $1.6 billion in early childhood education funding, including $450 million for voluntary pre-kindergarten programs; $290 million for the Safe Schools Initiatives; and $52.8 million to support civics engagement programs.


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