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Florida House-Senate Conference Committee Settles on a $117.46 Billion State Budget; Final Vote Expected Before the End of the Week

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Florida - Tuesday March 5, 2024: Florida lawmakers are set to pass a $117.46 billion dollar state budget this week.

A House-Senate conference committee announced they had reached agreement on the spending plan Tuesday morning.

That started the required 72-hour “cooling off” period before lawmakers can vote on the budget and that means that the legislature could wrap up its business and adjourn on time by this Friday.

House Bill 5001 includes a $1.8 billion increase in funding for public schools over the current fiscal year. That is a $240 bump-up in per-student spending.

There is also a 3 percent pay raise for state employees, with additional increases at the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The budget authorizes paying off $500 million in state debt, accounts for significant tax relief, and sets aside record state reserves. Additional legislation passed by both Chambers includes historic funding to grow Florida’s health care workforce and new, dedicated investments in Florida’s environment & clean water resiliency.

“We wisely utilized pandemic funds to make critical, one-time, generational investments in our infrastructure – from roads and bridges, to education facilities, to clean water and coastal resilience,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples). “Our revenues are increasing, but instead of spending all of we have, we are paying down debt, setting aside historic reserves, and providing for meaningful tax relief, so Floridians can keep more of their hard-earned money.”

“Our Health and Human Services budget complements the historic appropriations throughout our Live Healthy legislation with important investments to improve the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our state, particularly our children, elders and our fellow Floridians with disabilities," said Senator Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart), who Chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services. "We are also increasing funds to support independent living for our youth in the child welfare system, raising the level of respite support for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, and expanding needed services for those struggling with substance abuse. We are yet again committing to the long-term care of our veterans by providing funding for our 9th state veterans’ nursing home in Collier County, ensuring Florida remains the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.

“We are continuing our longstanding efforts to preserve Florida’s unique natural resources and making critical improvements to our environmental and clean water infrastructure," said Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford), the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government. "These investments benefit current and future generations of Floridians, while also safeguarding Florida’s economy as our pristine natural features continue to attract visitors from across the country and around the world.