What Governor DeSantis’s Budget Would Mean For Floridians

It’s weird to have two budgets presented inside of ten months but with a new governor taking office in January and Florida’s new law starting the state session in January, during federal election cycles, here we are. Already there’s a significant difference between last year’s budget and this year. The size of the increase in spending. The budget Governor DeSantis signed into law just five months ago increased spending by greater than 2%. If the Governor ends up with something close to what he’s asking for next year, the increase will only be 0.4%. This makes more sense than many realize with the loss of the revenue of the Seminole Compact now fully realized. As for the increases, which are the real signs of priority for the governor heading into the upcoming session. It really comes down to teachers and education.

Increases in education are as follows: 

  • $300 per student increase in funding (a 4% increase)
  • $300 million in teacher bonuses (a 5%+ increase)
  • $600 million increase in teacher starting salaries (a 26%+ increase)
  • $100 million in mental health funding (a 33%+ increase)

Aside from education, there are specific areas with increases for projects, but they’re generally offset with cost decreases within the same department. Basically, outside of education, he’s looking to do more with the same amount of money due to efficiencies. That’s evidenced by the proposal to eliminate the positions of 141 full-time state government employees. Sales tax holidays are baked into the equation for this budget.

He also outlined budget cuts in transportation, the Department of Economic Opportunity and Earmarks for pet projects.

With this proposal, I get a sense that he’s spent time watching and evaluating how Florida’s government works and what he feels doesn’t and decided that most of it simply could operate more efficiently. That might not be what some of the lobbyists and politicos like but for us taxpayers, that's good news. 

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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