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Governor Ron DeSantis unveils $114.4 billion proposed budget

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled his $114.4 billion ‘Focus on Florida’s Future’ budget proposal Tuesday ahead of the 2024 session.

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The overall price tag may seem like a lot, but it is a slight reduction compared to the current budget.

The proposal puts $16.3 billion in reserves and includes $27.8 billion for public schools, $1.25 billion for teacher pay raises, over $1 billion for the environment, and $1.1 billion in tax relief.

There are also hundreds of millions for infrastructure, cancer research, pregnancy support, mental health, and addiction services.

Additionally, there’s $455 million to pay off the state’s debts and a proposed cut of 1,000 state employees.

“We are living within our means. We’re even pairing back expenses. We’re reducing the size of government. We’re cutting taxes. We’re eliminating more of our state debt. Yet, we also have record investment for education, record support for transportation and infrastructure, record support for environmental restoration and water quality. That is how you govern well,” said DeSantis.

The proposal also includes exemptions for taxes and fees on property and flood insurance premiums expected to produce $430 million in savings.

The Governor is also requesting $400 million to go towards workforce housing.

Both are proposals State Representative Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) likes to see, but she argued more impactful options are available.

“People also need just support right now this second, and whether that can take shape in mortgage assistance, rentals assistance, or property insurance assistance. We have billions of dollars in state surplus that could help families that are financially struggling right now,” said Eskamani.

Eskamani also noted the budget includes additional dollars for litigation, specifically a million dollars for a potential lawsuit over FSU not making the playoffs, and continued funding for culture war issues like $5 million for the state’s migrant relocation program.

“This budget really is more of the same. It’s more political pandering. It is attempting to give off the impression of consumer benefits, when really the consumer benefits are small,” said Eskamani.

Gov. DeSantis addressed a recommendation of $1 million for litigation expenses resulting from the NCAA’s ruling on the FSU football team in the college playoffs.

You can find a full breakdown of the Governor’s proposed budget here.

Ultimately, it will be state legislators who are responsible for crafting the final budget.

They’ll get to work once the session begins on January 9.

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