Floridians will get tax cuts and see support for K-12 education, and increased spending on environmental programs under the state’s budget for fiscal 2021-2022. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the budget bill during a June 2 press conference.
“We’re signing the largest budget for the State of Florida, on what was supposed to be a disaster for Florida,” DeSantis said just before signing SB2500, the General Appropriations Act. ”I’m proud to sign the Florida Leads budget that continues to exemplify Florida’s continued resolve and unshakable economic foundation, while establishing Florida’s position as a nationwide leader in education, protecting our environment, creating a resilient economy, and ensuring public safety.”
Totaling $101.5 billion, the balanced budget includes $169 million in tax relief. DeSantis vetoed $1.5 billion in total spending, including $1.35 billion from federal funds received under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Highlights of the The Florida Leads budget include –
Education – total of $22.8 billion for K-12 education including an increase of $53 in the base student allocation, $120 million for mental health initiatives and $550 million to continue raising the minimum K-12 teacher salary to the goal of $47,500, as well as to boost salaries for veteran teachers and other eligible instructional personnel.
Taxpayers savings – The budget implements a tax package that cuts taxes by $169 million, includes the 10-day Back-To-School and 10-day Disaster Preparedness sales tax holidays and establishes the first 7-day Freedom Week sales tax holiday.
The Environment – The budget dedicates more than $625 million in environmental spending including $302 million for targeted water quality improvements toward measurable nutrient reductions in key water bodies across the state, and $152 million to protect prized properties and waters in Florida, including $102 million for the Florida Forever Program, and $50 million for Florida’s state parks.
Economic Development – The budget includes a total of $10.3 billion for the State’s Department of Transportation including $9.44 billion for the State Transportation Work Program. an ongoing five-year plan to complete and implement transportation infrastructure projects. It also includes $74 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund, $75 million for the “Visit Florida” marketing campaign and $1.6 billion in Disaster Recovery Funding.
Veterans affairs – The budget provides $28 million for Florida’s military presence and families, including $4.1 million to support Florida National Guardsmen seeking higher education degrees, and $11 million to support scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans.
State Senate President Wilton Simpson (R- Trilby) said that the budget reflects Florida’s commitment to the state’s post-COVID economy.
“We are certainly in a better place today than when we started our budget planning last summer,” Simpson said.
“Without raising taxes, this balanced budget makes significant investments in key infrastructure priorities that will create jobs and further bolster Florida’s economy, keeping us on the road to a full economic recovery.”
The General Appropriations Act becomes effective on July 1.