Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Governor Signs the State Budget Into Law, After Cutting $1B in Spending From It

WTSP via the Florida Channel

Florida - Wednesday June 12, 2024: At a signing ceremony in Tampa this afternoon Governor DeSantis signed into law the $116.5 billion state budget for the coming fiscal year.

He approved the 2024-25 spending plan only after cutting about $1-billion in spending for programs and projects, most of which had been tucked into the budget by his fellow Republicans in the Legislature.

The Legislature passed the state budget more than three months ago. DeSantis has spent weeks talking about what's in it. But at today's ceremony DeSantis did not name any one of the funding programs he vetoed.

In a show of bipartisanship, the budget passed unanimously in the Senate and 105-3 in the House. Just one Republican and two Democrats opposed the spending plan which gives all state workers a 3% pay raise.

READ the News Release from Governor's Office about the 2024-25 FY Budget in FULL below:

Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Fiscal Year 2024-2025 “Focus on Florida’s Future” Budget 

TAMPA, Fla.—Today, Ron DeSantis signed the ‘Focus on Florida’s Future’ Budget for Fiscal Year 2024-2025. The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget totals $116.5 billion—less than the previous fiscal year—which reflects a reduction in overall state spending. This year’s budget features significant investments for Florida’s top needs, and thanks to the Governor’s line-item actions, this budget will also result in $17 billion remaining for budgetary reserves. This funding will continue Florida’s important work in providing tax relief for its citizens; investing in our #1-in-the-nation education system; and supporting law and order, disaster preparedness, continued economic development, environmental conservation, and more. To view more information on the 2024-2025 budget, click here.

Since Governor Ron DeSantis took office, the State of Florida has paid down over 36% of its overall outstanding tax-supported state debt.

Additionally, Florida’s taxpayers are in store for $1.5 billion in tax relief in the coming year, including $450 million in toll relief.

For budget highlights, click here.

To read the veto list, click here.

To read the veto message, click here.

“This budget delivers historic support for education, infrastructure, and conservation, yet spends less than the year before and includes major tax relief,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We have paid down 36% of the state’s entire tax-supported debt over the course of my term, and the state maintains a AAA credit rating, one of the lowest tax burdens in America, and more than $17 billion in reserve.”

Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has signed over $6 billion in total tax cuts for Florida’s families and businesses. The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget provides $1.5 billion in additional tax relief for Florida families in Fiscal Year 2024-25, including permanent tax cuts to keep more money in the pockets of Floridians.

The budget also includes $450 million in toll relief to frequent Florida commuters, discounting tolls by 50 percent for frequent drivers utilizing SunPass with 35 or more monthly transactions.

Additionally, the budget includes a one-year exemption on taxes, fees and assessments for Homeowners Insurance Policies, saving taxpayers $502 million.

The budget will also feature a tax credit for businesses that employ Floridians with unique abilities, saving these businesses $5 million annually for each of the next three years.

The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget will save Florida families more than $289 million through four sales tax holidays, including:

  • A Freedom Month sales tax holiday, saving Florida families on outdoor recreation equipment and events to entertain the kids during the summer.
  • A 14-day “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday, saving Florida families millions on school supplies, clothing and computers.
  • A one-week skilled workers sales tax holiday, saving skilled workers on tools and equipment they need for work.
  • Two 14-day Disaster Preparedness Holidays, saving money on disaster preparedness supplies. 

Since passing record reforms to aid Florida’s property insurance market, conditions continue to improve. In addition to providing tax relief to reduce the cost of homeowners insurance, the Focus on Florida’s Future Budget invests over $237 million to support residential home mitigation programs and additional oversight of the property insurance market, including:

  • $200 million for the My Safe Florida Home Grant Program to continue assisting Florida homeowners through home inspections and cost-sharing for approved home hardening and wind mitigation programs to reduce premiums and make properties less vulnerable to hurricane damage. This investment follows additional funding provided during the recent Special Session and is especially important as Floridians are recovering following hurricanes Ian, Nicole, and Idalia;
  • $1.1 million to bolster the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s (OIR) ability to curate data related to Florida’s property insurance market; and $675,000 to contract for independent reinsurance and mitigation research experts to bolster OIR’s ability to review filings and recommend new tools to mitigate properties from hurricanes.

Florida has been ranked the number one state in the country in overall education for two years in a row. Under Governor DeSantis, Florida continues to increase teacher salaries, funding for early child education, school safety and funding for the K-12 public school system. In addition, the Governor has approved continued increases for school choice programs and workforce education.

This year’s budget includes:

  • $1.25 billion (an increase of $201.8 million) in funding to provide salary increases for teachers and other instructional personnel;
  • $1.7 billion in funding for early child education, including $438 million for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK); and
  • An historic $28.4 billion in funding for the K-12 public school system.

The Focus on Florida's Future Budget incorporates crucial funding enhancements to support Florida's Jewish communities and schools, including:

  • $20 million in funding to enhance safety measures for Florida Jewish Day Schools and Jewish preschools;
  • $5 million in funding for the Museum of Hope and Humanity in downtown Orlando, which will serve to honor those we lost in the Holocaust;
  • $3.5 million in funding for the Jewish Day School-Student Transportation Safety Initiative, which will assist Jewish students in South Florida by providing transportation to and from school while ensuring the safety and security of the students; and,
  • Over $7 million in funding to various Holocaust memorial and education centers around the state.

Our K-12 education will also be improved through investments in new and continued civics engagement initiatives, such as $1.5 million to support and expand the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative, over $6 million for civic literacy and civic professional development initiatives; and $10 million for the Florida Civics Seal of Excellence Program that will allow another 3,000 educators to receive a $3,000 stipend for completing the Florida Seal of Excellence endorsement coursework. The budget will also fund $10 million to provide bonuses to teachers who work to increase their knowledge through additional certifications in computer science courses.

Florida’s higher education system has been number one in the country for eight years in a row. This achievement is possible because Florida insists that its colleges and universities focus on academic excellence—not indoctrination—and offer tuition at an affordable price. Under Governor DeSantis, there have been no tuition increases at state colleges and universities for his entire term, resulting in the lowest in-state tuition in the nation.

This year’s budget includes:

  • $1.7 billion in state operating funding for the Florida College System;
  • $4.1 billion in state operating funding for the State University System;
  • $100 million for the recruitment and retention of highly qualified faculty at state universities;
  • $130 million for the recruitment and retention of in total funding to reward quality nursing education programs to address nursing vacancies; and
  • $765 million to support workforce education programs to ensure Florida students are prepared to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs.

Additionally, the budget funds $35 million for the Open Door Grant Program, designed to create a demand-driven supply of credentialed workers for high-demand occupations; and, $10 million for Alzheimer's and Dementia research at state universities. This budget also invests over $173 million for Florida's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including $20 million for campus security at HBCUs.

Also, in an effort to retain high-achieving students at our great in-state colleges and universities, the budget fully funds the projected student enrollment for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program at $617 million.

The Focus on Florida's Future Budget underscores Florida's unwavering commitment to enhancing the well-being of its citizens. This steadfast dedication is evident through its increased support for cancer research and innovation, substantial investment in the health of Floridians through all stages of life, aid for individuals grappling with behavioral health and substance use challenges, support for seniors and their caretakers, assistance for individuals with unique abilities, assistance for survivors of human trafficking, and support for our veterans.

In addition, the budget places a premium on life by funding foster and adoptive families.

The Focus on Florida's Future Budget is making significant strides in the battle against cancer, with an allocation of over $232 million for cancer research funding. This includes $127.5 million for the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program and $60 million for the Florida Cancer Innovation Fund, a testament to our commitment to supporting groundbreaking cancer research.

The Focus on Florida's Future Budget, and funding provided in the Live Healthy legislation, includes an additional $456.5 million to support the health and development of pregnant women, new moms, and children. This funding will be used to enhance prenatal and postnatal care, expand access to pediatric healthcare services, and support early childhood development.

Additionally, the budget and recent legislation provides more than $442 million in funding to support behavioral health services. These resources will improve access to mobile response services, increase provider rates, help expand the behavioral health workforce, and support collaboration between primary care and behavioral health providers.

The Focus on Florida's Future Budget also allocates over $93.2 million in additional funds to support those served or in danger of entering the child welfare system and nearly $10 million to expand adoption incentives to assist in finding forever homes for more foster children. This funding will significantly benefit foster parents and caregivers and enhance access to post-adoption resources for young adults.

To continue our mission of prioritizing care for seniors, the Focus on Florida's Future Budget provides nearly $70 million for our efforts to support caregivers and individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's and other related memory disorders.

Additionally, we are allocating $115 million to support seniors through the Community Care for the Elderly Program and the Home Care for the Elderly Program.

This year, the Focus on Florida's Future Budget and the recent Live Healthy legislation appropriated more than $2.2 billion to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities for services through the iBudget waiver. This historic level of funding demonstrates Florida's unwavering commitment to improving services for individuals with unique abilities.

To support our veterans, the Focus on Florida's Future Budget will invest $4.9 million in improvements to the State's Veterans' Nursing Homes and an additional $10 million to assist in constructing the ninth State Veterans' Nursing Home in Collier County. Once completed, Florida will proudly have the most and best state-funded veterans' nursing homes in the nation.

The budget also includes a $2 million investment to assist veterans in securing meaningful skills-based employment. This investment will provide veterans with job training and placement services, as well as support for entrepreneurship and small business development. These initiatives aim to provide veterans with the tools they need to succeed in the civilian workforce, contribute to the economy, and lead fulfilling lives post-service.

Florida, currently home to over 22 million residents and welcoming millions of visitors each year, is the nation's fastest-growing state. This rapid growth is fueled by Governor DeSantis' freedom-first policies that create thriving opportunities for Florida families. The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget continues to strategically invest in Florida’s infrastructure, workforce, and economy to meet the demands of the state's expansion.

The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget includes $15.5 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation. Of this total, $14.5 billion is provided for the state transportation work program to construct and maintain Florida’s transportation network.

To support Florida’s heavily utilized infrastructure, the Focus on Florida’s Future Budget fully funds the Moving Florida Forward Initiative, expediting 20 projects to relieve traffic congestion and $109.6 million for Florida’s ports, logistics centers and fuel pipelines, including vertiport development.

To help create new jobs and support business development throughout the state, the Focus on Florida’s Future Budget also invests $75 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund, which helps fund projects that support local public infrastructure and expand workforce education opportunities; $80 million to continue marketing efforts through VISIT FLORIDA and $175.2 million for the State Small Business Credit Initiative, providing small businesses with access to capital to grow their business.

Florida’s rural communities are an important part of the success of our state and the Governor continues to provide our rural communities with the resources they need to thrive. This includes $20 million for the Rural Infrastructure Fund to support local infrastructure projects that help attract jobs, $100 million to expand broadband internet access in rural communities, and $88.6 million for the Small County Outreach Program to assist small county governments in repairing infrastructure.

To support workforce housing, the Focus on Florida’s Future Budget includes $174 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program, $234 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program, and $100 million for the third year of the Hometown Heroes Housing program to provide down payment and closing cost assistance for first time homebuyers.

Governor DeSantis has consistently acknowledged the significant contributions of Florida’s law enforcement and military communities. To back these communities, the Focus on Florida’s Future Budget includes key investments such as $17 million for the third year of the Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program, which provides a signing bonus of up to $5,000 for those hired as first-time law enforcement officers in Florida.

Additionally, the budget funds $7 million for the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program, which provides funding for infrastructure projects that make a positive impact on the military value of installations within the state.

The budget also includes $3 million for the Military Base Protection Program, which helps secure non-conservation lands to serve as a buffer protecting military installations from encroachment and supports local community efforts to engage in service partnerships with military installations.

In 2019, Governor DeSantis called for $2.5 billion to be invested over four years for Florida’s environment. The Governor surpassed that goal by securing over $3.3 billion during his first term. In 2023, Governor DeSantis reinforced his commitment to prioritizing Florida’s natural resources in his second term by calling for an historic $3.5 billion investment for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources. The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget includes more than $1.5 billion for this initiative, bringing the total investment during the Governor’s first two years of his second term to $3.2 billion.

Governor DeSantis signed more than $850 million for Everglades restoration projects, including:

  • $550 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP);
  • $64 million for the EAA Reservoir to continue this critical project to reduce harmful discharges and help send more clean water south of the Everglades;
  • $50 million for specific project components designed to achieve the greatest reductions in harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries as identified in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project Draft Integrated Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement dated August 2020;
  • $100 million for phase 2 of the C-51 Reservoir; and
  • $86.7 million for the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program.

The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget also includes $535 million for targeted water quality improvements to achieve significant, meaningful, and measurable nutrient reductions in key waterbodies across the state and to implement the initial recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force.

On top of the investment in targeted water quality improvements, the budget includes $55 million to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs and a $40 million investment to improve water quality and combat the effects and impacts of harmful algal blooms, including blue-green algae and red tide.

The Focus on Florida’s Future Budget dedicates $15 million to infrastructure improvements and resource management with the goal of maintaining Florida State Parks national gold medal standard. Senate Bill 1638 also provides $32 million for land management activities within the state park system and $4 million for implementing the Local Trail Management Grant Program.

Additionally, the budget funds more than $129 million to protect Florida’s conservation lands and waterways, including $100 million for the Florida Forever Program to support land conservation and recreation.

Florida sets the gold standard for emergency response and preparation. Under Governor DeSantis, Florida will continue to invest the necessary resources to ensure our residents can properly prepare for a storm and get back on their feet quickly after it passes. This includes the ability to quickly respond to a disaster scenario and mitigate against future disasters or emergencies.

The Budget provides $1.2 billion in state and federal funding for disaster recovery, mitigation and emergency management to continue helping Floridians impacted by a disaster while preparing for future disasters.

Additionally, the Focus on Florida’s Future Budget includes $396 million in additional federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for local hurricane recovery and hardening efforts throughout the state, including the CDBG Disaster Recovery Program and the CDBG Mitigation Program.