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Florida House Passes Statewide Budget With Over $60M in Funding to Combat Coronavirus

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 20, 2020) — Marking the conclusion of the 2020 Florida Legislative Session, the Florida House of Representatives on Thursday voted to approve House Bill (HB) 5001, the 2020-21 General Appropriations Act (GAA), and related bills. The $93.2 billion statewide budget includes $4 billion in reserves and more than $60 million for the ongoing coronavirus response.

This historic budget -- created and passed by state lawmakers amid a worldwide health crisis -- positions Florida for a strong recovery from the economic downturn residents are already seeing as a result of coronavirus reactions. The budget and related bills are headed to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for signing.


The fiscal year 2020-21 statewide budget passed Thursday provides back of bill funding for the response to the Coronavirus outbreak. In it, $52.4 million has been set aside to cover expenses for additional epidemiology staff, enhanced surveillance systems, and medical protective equipment -- about $25 million of that from general revenue. It also provides $8.2 million for this and other disease responses to include the purchase of vaccines and early identification functions.


The PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee budget totals $17 billion ($13.2 billion General Revenue and $3.7 billion Trust Funds). A $776 million allocation for the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) provides a 3.55% increase in total funds in the FEFP over the current year and an increase of $183.62 (or 2.4%) for total funds per student of $7,839.58.

$500 million will go to a new “Teacher Salary Increase Allocation” in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) to help school districts recruit and retain quality classroom teachers.

Of the total amount, $400 million will go to increase the minimum base salary of full-time classroom teachers (including certified Pre-K teachers funded in the FEFP) to at least $47,500 -- or the maximum amount achievable within each school district’s portion of the allocation.

The remaining amount of $100 million is for school districts to offer pay raises to full-time classroom teachers and other instructional personnel who did not receive any increase, or who received less than a 2 percent increase, from the $400 million.


Under this approved budget, state employees, correctional officers, child protective investigators and more can expect to see improved pay and benefits. With Thursday’s vote, lawmakers approved $192.7 million in general revenue and $142.5 million in trust funds for total benefit issues and $120.9 million in general revenue and $73 million in trust funds for total salary increases. This means (effective Oct. 1):

  • state employees can expect to see their salary increase by 3%.

  • correctional officers and APD/DCF Institutional Security Specialists can also expect a 3% pay raise in addition to a supplemental increase based on years of service.

  • child protective investigators will see a 10% salary increase to help combat the high turnover rate.

This budget also raises the state’s contribution to the Florida Retirement System and fully funds the 6.5% increase in the employee health insurance premiums for current members of the state group health insurance plans.


The new budget makes Everglades restoration and protection of the state’s water resources a top priority, funding these efforts at $690 million.

$76.6 million will go to stormwater and wastewater treatment, water supply projects and water quality improvement projects across local communities. $50 million will provide for springs restoration, protection and preservation. Millions of dollars will also be put toward coral reef protection and restoration ($10 million) and red tide research ($6.6 million).

Among other highlights, funds for the following agriculture and natural resources projects are also included:

  • $100 million for the Florida Forever Program – the conservation and recreation lands acquisition program to help conserve Florida’s natural resources.

  • $50 million for beach restoration – provides $9.8 million in new funding for financial assistance to local governments and special taxing authorities for beach and dune restoration, nourishment and inlet management.

  • $13 million for small county wastewater grants – provides funding for grants for the construction of wastewater treatment facilities for disadvantaged small communities in need of adequate sewer facilities.


The fiscal year 2020-21 budget does not include the traditional sweeps of housing trust funds. It provides $370 million for affordable housing programs like the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) and State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL). It also provides for additional hurricane recovery efforts by including $20 million for the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program and $10 million for down payment and closing cost assistance in conjunction with the Homebuyer Loan Program.


As the June start of hurricane season approaches, the newly approved budget provides $1.7 billion for ongoing storm response. Included is:

  • $1.6 billion ($225.2 million in state matching funds) for Federally Declared Disasters Grants to repair damage and protect areas through FEMA. This includes grant funding for Hurricanes Michael, Irma, Hermine, and Matthew.

  • $40 million for the revolving loan program

  • $30 million for hurricane housing initiatives

  • $12.1 million for local community initiatives

A more detailed overview of the Budget Overview & Statewide Issues Conference Report on HB 5001 can be viewed here.


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