The proposal sets aside $650 million for veteran- and new-teacher raises
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Travis Cummings (R-Fleming Island), this week released the General Appropriations Act (PCB APC 20-01), a proposed state budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Compared with the Governor’s and Senate’s proposals, the House’s $91.4 billion budget comes in at the lowest cost to taxpayers and brings state government spending down to $4,158 per person -- $47 less per-capita than the current fiscal year. In the coming weeks, the House will negotiate with the Senate to arrive at a final budget to propose to Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing.
The House plan includes major investments in salaries for new and veteran school teachers ($650 million), and other state employees, including law enforcement and child protective workers, ($107.1 million from General Revenue and $74.2 million from trust funds). It also sets aside $1.7 billion for hurricane response, and more than $650 million for Everglades restoration and water resources. It includes $3.7 billion in reserves.
Among other highlights, the House’s budget:
Allocates $868.8 million to the Florida Education Finance Program, a nearly 4% increase over the current year’s total funds. With it, the funding per student increases to $7,873.93, up by about $218.
Invests in student safety with $50 million for improving the physical security of school buildings.
Funds a market-based plan to give Floridians access to cheaper prescription drugs. $10.3 million will go toward wholesale importation of safe prescription drugs from approved Canadian suppliers, as directed by section 381.02035, Florida Statutes.
Prioritizes kids by allocating $31.5 million to the Florida KidCare program for children who need affordable, quality health care. With this, the program will be able to serve nearly 300,000 kids.
Makes way for issuing a $1,800 increase in annual salary for state employees who currently make less than $50,000 per year.
Statement by Florida House Speaker Jose R. Oliva
“As Florida grows, and our economy grows, so, too, does the temptation to spend the natural increases in revenue received by the government. But the Florida House, like every individual and family in our great State, must plan for the down times and save for a rainy day.
“That is why I am thankful to Chairman Cummings and the Members of the Appropriations Committee for submitting a budget that funds our needs, raises teacher pay, augments child welfare and prison workers, and balances at a lower per-capita spending rate than last year’s budget. We also put more money into savings to guard against any economic headwinds, including tripling the constitutional reserve requirements. That formula has made Florida the economic envy of the nation, and we plan to continue that record.”
Statement by Rep. Travis Cummings, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee
“This week we rolled out a budget plan that covers Florida’s needs and represents taxpayers well by keeping true to our conservative values. We took what we heard from the Governor and his agencies and came up with something that met those significant requests in a logical, substantial and sustainable way. At the same time, we’re investing in our workers on the front lines in education, public safety and child welfare. This budget also includes an increase in annual salary for state employees making less than $50,000 per year.
“Looking ahead, we have put our best foot forward and are eager to meet with our fellow lawmakers in the Senate to get the job done. Our primary duty as state legislators is to propose a balanced Florida budget, and seeing that to the finish line is our No. 1 priority. I look forward to the thoughtful discussions we will have during budget conferencing over the following weeks.”
Statement by Rep. Dane Eagle, Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and House Majority Leader
“We are proud to roll out a cost-effective and conscientious state budget that keeps government small, spending down, and hard-working Floridians at the forefront. Every day 900-plus people are moving to the Sunshine State. Just because our tax-base is growing doesn’t mean the government should spend more. People -- not the government -- make better decisions about how to spend their money. Keeping Florida a fiscally responsible, low-tax and small government state is the key to continue to see our economy grow. This proposed plan does just that.
“The House budget also includes a substantial $650.2 million investment in our environment, which is especially important in this state. Spending time outdoors and on our waterways is one of the best ways to enjoy all our state has to offer. For this reason, we will continue to work toward protecting and cleaning our water, the Everglades, and our other most precious, natural resources.”
Conforming bills are as follows: HB 5201 - Health Care, HB 5301 - Judges, HB 5401 - Department of Environmental Protection, HB 7049 - International Affairs, and PCBs APC 20-02 - Implementing the 2020-2021 General Appropriations Act, APC 20-03 – Collective Bargaining, APC 20-04 – State Administered Retirement Systems, and APC 20-05 – Collective Bargaining.
For all House budget materials and updates, visit budget.myfloridahouse.gov.