Governor Rick Scott Releases Budget Packed with Florida TaxWatch Recommendations
TALLAHASSEE – Today, Governor Rick Scott released his FY 2013-14 proposed budget for the State of Florida, recommending total spending of $74.2 billion, a $4.2 billion increase over current year spending (a 6 percent increase), while at the same time including many Florida TaxWatch cost-saving and economic development recommendations. The proposed budget includes $27.3 billion in General Revenue spending, a $2.3 billion increase (9.2 percent) over current spending.
“Florida TaxWatch is pleased to see that the Governor’s budget includes a number of efficiency measures,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President & CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “These ‘Enterprise-Wide Initiatives’ have all been recommendations of Florida TaxWatch’s Government Cost Savings Tax Force. Additionally, the proposed budget follows the recommendation of the very recent Florida TaxWatch study, Investing in Tourism, and allocates additional funding to support and expand Florida’s tourism industry.”
Consistent with TaxWatch recommendations, the Governor is recommending tax relief for businesses, including another $25,000 increase in the corporate income tax exemption, and an expansion of the sales tax exemption for manufacturing machinery and equipment.
Among the Cost Savings Task Force recommendations included in the budget proposal are:
1) Procurement Transformation – improving state purchasing processes and expanding the use of state term contracts;
2) Vendor Performance and Contract Management – this includes the renegotiation of large contracts to save $22 million;
3) Real Estate Optimization – better utilize existing space, reduce energy consumption, achieve lease cost savings and optimize facility operations. This will save $6.4 million in the current year and is expected to achieve annual savings of up to $2 million;
4) Human Resource Shared Services – create a human resources delivery model to empower agencies to focus on their core missions rather than administrative functions;
5) Employee Management and Talent Management – improve performance objectives and assessments, including $148 million for bonuses to reward up to the top-performing 35% of state employees;
6) Fleet Management Services – centralized policies, oversight, planning and coordination of the state’s vehicle utilization, acquisition and maintenance;
7) Medicaid Fraud – enhance fraud and waste reduction, including a new approach for collecting and interpreting data, which will help deny unusual claims, investigate suspicious behavior, and address inappropriate payments. This is expected to recover $6.80 in Medicaid overpayments for every $1 spent in fraud prevention and recovery; and
8) State Employee Health Insurance – all employees would pay the same amount for health insurance coverage, reducing the state’s contribution for health insurance coverage for employees in the Senior Management Service and Selected Exempt Service systems.
Additionally, the Governor made education one of the centerpieces of his proposed budget, namely a $1.2 billion increase for K-12 education. This would increase per-student spending by $400 (or 6.5 percent) bringing the total per student to $6,800. This increase includes a $480 million pay increase for teachers – which works out to $2,500 per teacher across-the-board.
Florida TaxWatch will be releasing a full analysis of Governor Scott’s FY 2013-14 Budget Recommendations soon.