TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced his “Framework for Freedom” Budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023–2024. The budget, totaling $114.8 billion, includes a healthy reserve exceeding $15 billion. DeSantis said the proposal builds on Florida’s success as the state outpaces the nation with a robust economy.
“Florida’s focus on freedom has led us to outpace the nation on all fronts,” said Governor DeSantis. “Through the Framework for Freedom Budget, we are establishing freedom first policies to benefit Florida workers and families and to provide a framework for future prosperity.”
The budget includes funding to safeguard the rights of students, parents and teachers, restore Florida’s environment and maintain healthy reserves to better respond to natural disasters.
“Florida will fight against federal headwinds by putting forth sound fiscal policies that keep more money in the pockets of Floridians,” DeSantis added and postulated that the “Free State of Florida” will serve as a framework for other states to follow.
ECONOMIC PROSPERITY FOR HARDWORKING FLORIDIANS
Four permanent tax cuts and more than ten temporary tax cuts would allow Floridians to keep more money in their pockets as they face record-high inflation.
Tax relief includes:
- A permanent sales tax exemption for baby and toddler necessities
- A permanent sales tax exemption for cribs and strollers
- A permanent sales tax exemption for over-the-counter pet medications
- A permanent sales tax exemption for gas stoves
- Temporary tax holidays on children’s books, children’s toys, children’s athletic equipment, certain household items and clothing, disaster preparedness items, outdoor recreation items, dental and oral hygiene products, pet food, hand and power tools, energy star appliances, and natural gas.
FREEDOM IN EDUCATION
Florida is the top-ranked state for educational freedom. The Sunshine State has been the number one higher education system in the nation for five straight years. The governor said his recommendations would continue to support high-quality educational choices for all students. Under the proposed budget, tuition to Florida’s colleges and universities would remain the same – one of the lowest in the nation.
Key investments include:
- $1 billion (an increase of $200 million) in funding to provide salary increases for new and veteran teachers and other eligible instructional personnel.
- $1.6 billion in funding for early childhood education, including more than $451 million for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK).
- Historic $26 billion in funding – $14.1 billion in record state funding for the K-12 public school system.
- $1.5 billion in state operating funding for the Florida College System.
- $3.1 billion in state operating funding for the State University System.
- $100 million for the recruitment and retention of highly qualified faculty at state universities.
- $15 million for the institutional overhaul and restructuring of the New College of Florida.
PRIORITIZING WORKFORCE EDUCATION
Since 2019, the governor has committed more than $5 billion to workforce education, making Florida number one in the nation for attracting and developing a skilled workforce.
In an effort to continue elevating Florida’s workforce program, DeSantis included over $624 million to support workforce education programs in the state. $125 million in total funding will also support the LINE and PIPELINE nursing education initiatives.
PROTECTING FLORIDA’S NATURAL RESOURCES
In 2019, DeSantis requested $2.5 billion to be invested over four years for the protection of water resources. That goal was surpassed by over $3.3 billion and Executive Order 23-06 allotted another $3.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration. Today’s budget proposal begins that investment by dedicating more than $1.1 billion.
The Framework for Freedom Budget also includes $370 million for targeted water quality improvements, $50 million to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs, and a $65 million investment to improve water quality and combat the effects and impacts of harmful algal blooms – including blue-green algae and red tide.
KEEPING FLORIDA COMMUNITIES SAFE
Floridians are enjoying a 50-year record-low crime rate, and the governor says he’s committed to making necessary investments in public safety. The proposal includes salary increases across multiple state agencies, including the Department of Corrections (FDC) and the Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
The budget would provide $2.1 billion in federal and state funding so that communities and the state can respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies, as well as mitigate against future disasters or emergencies.
BUILDING A ROBUST PUBLIC HEALTH NETWORK
Governor DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis have pushed for record funding to support cancer research to enhance Florida’s competitiveness at national and international levels. The Framework for Freedom Budget would invest more than $166 million into cancer research funding.
Additional funding would support services for pregnant and postpartum women and children, foster parents and caregivers, acutely ill newborns and pediatric patients, and Floridians who need behavioral health services. The state’s most vulnerable populations would also continue to receive much-needed individualized clinical treatment.