Senate Passes Balanced Budget Focused on Education, $3.4 Billion in Total Reserves

Feb 8 • 170 Views • View Comments

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$154 million for Florida Forever Programs, State Law Enforcement and Firefighter
Pay Raise, Historic Investments in Need and Merit-Based Student Financial Aid

The Florida Senate today passed Senate Bill 2500, the 2018-19 General Appropriations Act. This legislation forms a balanced budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, prioritizing funding for Florida’s K–12 and higher education systems, while setting aside $3.4 billion in total reserves. The budget also makes critical investments in Florida’s environment, continues historic investments in need-based and merit-based student financial aid, and provides a pay raise for Florida’s state law enforcement officers and state firefighters, among others.

“I am pleased to see the Senate budget pass with strong bipartisan support today. The balanced budget that passed today is the product of thousands of informed decisions that reflect public testimony from our fellow citizens and input from the constituents we represent over the last several months,” said Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart). “From unprecedented per-student funding for K-12 education, to historic investments in need-based student financial aid for our college and university students, combined with the permanent expansion of Bright Futures, the Senate is committed to ensuring that all Florida students have an opportunity to achieve their educational goals.”

“This balanced budget ensures that we live within our means and responsibly plan for Florida’s future by setting aside ample reserves,” said Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “One important focus of the budget is our state employees. We want to continue to recruit and retain top talent for our state workforce, so the Senate budget includes targeted pay raises in areas where we see high amounts of turnover, including state law enforcement and state firefighters. Additionally, we continue our commitment to faithfully implement the voter-approved Water and Land Conservation Amendment with significant investments in Florida Forever and Everglades Restoration, as well as restoration of our beaches and springs.”

 

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