Governor DeSantis signs the 2020-2021 fiscal budget

Governor DeSantis signs the 2020-2021 fiscal budget
(WFTV.com News Staff)

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the state budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 Monday afternoon.

The budget totals $92.2 billion, provides over $350 million in tax relief and includes more than $1 billion in vetoed spending, according to a press conference held by DeSantis.

“Despite the present challenges Florida faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget ensures the state’s priorities are protected and funded,” said Governor DeSantis. “Our current economic landscape is vastly different since the Legislature passed this budget in March. As Governor, I must remain a mindful steward of taxpayer dollars. This budget reflects a steadfast commitment to Floridians by safeguarding important investments in key areas including education, the environment, infrastructure, public safety and more. As we move forward with our Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery, we will overcome the adversities before us and emerge stronger than before.”

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Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget are provided below:

K-12 Education

Governor DeSantis vowed to make 2020 the “Year of the Teacher” by making historic investments in our K-12 education system. The budget includes $500 million to raise the minimum K-12 teacher salary into the Top 5 nationwide.

Higher Education

To continue building on the success of Florida’s higher education system, the budget includes historic state operating funding for the Florida College System and State University System at $1.3 billion and $2.7 billion respectively. The announced budget also provides an increase of $18.9 million for Florida’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Environment

The budget provides more than $625 million for Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources. 

According to the press release, included in this investment is more than $322 million for Everglades restoration projects, $50 million for springs restoration, $160 million for targeted water quality improvements, $40 million for alternative water supply, and $25 million to combat harmful algal blooms and red tide.

Transportation and Infrastructure

The budget provides $9.2 billion for the State Transportation Work Program, including $2.5 billion for highway construction, $400.5 million for aviation improvements, $885.5 million for rail/transit projects and $236.4 million for safety initiatives.

Additionally, the budget includes $1.3 billion in federal and state funding for communities to respond to, recover from, and mitigate against major disasters or emergencies. Further, the budget provides $10 million for state-level election oversight activities, with a focus on cybersecurity enhancements to Florida’s election system.

Health and Human Services

The budget invests $117.6 million in funding for children and families who receive services through Florida’s child welfare system, including $53 million for major reforms to our child welfare system to enhance accountability and the quality of care a child receives. The budget also includes $8.7 million in funding to support the Office of Public and Professional Guardianship to ensure the legal rights of Florida’s elderly population are protected.

The budget includes $138.1 million in total funding to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, investing $81.8 million from the State Opioid Response Grant to address the opioid crisis by providing evidence-based prevention, medication-assisted treatment and recovery.

Public Safety

The budget includes $2.3 million to implement the first Statewide Behavioral Threat Assessment strategy in the country and more than $8.1 million to expand and enhance Florida’s crime databases.

The budget includes $6 million to make Florida’s correctional facilities safer, including $3 million for security equipment. It also provides important funding for pay increases for correctional officers and $17.3 million for a pilot project that transitions these officers from a 12-hour shift to an 8.5-hour shift.

Reserves

Reserve amounts included in the budget are:

  • $2.3 billion in unallocated General Revenue
  • Includes projected reversions of $781.6 million. This does not include adjustments for COVID-19 revenue losses.
  • $1.7 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund
  • $1.5 billion in unallocated Trust Funds
  • $0.8 billion in Tobacco reserves
  • $6.3 billion in Total Reserves

The transmittal letter is attached. For details on the budget, click HERE.

To view the veto list, click HERE.