ORLANDO, Fla — Channel Nine political reporter, Christopher Heath, went through the proposal to see what you can expect as the state tries to recover.
First the good news: Florida went into 2020 with a surplus and low unemployment, but then came COVID-19.
For a state built on sales tax revenue, a virus that shut down travel, tourism and leisure hit hard.
Gov. DeSantis told reporters today as he laid out his budget plan, “To be sure, Florida endured a difficult and tumultuous year just like everybody else.”
But all signs point to the state recovering. According to Gov. DeSantis, “We know the revenue is going to come in over expectations for the next several months and none of those are factored into this budget.”
Sales taxes have started to come back and jobs are returning.
Overall, there is more money, but that is a function of growth and the expectation of continued recovery as the feds start to ramp up COVID vaccine distribution.
The highlights of the Governor’s budget include calls for an overall increase of more than $4 billion and the addition of jobs, although most all of those new jobs are going to Florida’s prison system.
The biggest increases in the Governor’s proposal will be in health care and the state’s emergency management.
He has also put more money into for education in the form of teacher raises and more money for armed guardians, but all of this is based on the state expecting 50,000 fewer students next year, a projection based on the assumption that parents be keeping their kids virtual going forward.
There were cuts too. From state administration, consumer services, fish and wildlife and environmental protection.
But keep in mind, the Governor’s proposal is just that — a proposal.
The legislature will draft the official budget starting in the spring, but this is a good blueprint for what to expect.
Cox Media Group