$825 million investment in teachers and school personnel, $643.6 million
in water quality and protection, $403 million in state employees
The Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), today released Senate Proposed Bill 2500, the General Appropriations Act, a proposed state budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Statement by Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton)
“The Senate budget builds on our commitment to elevate the teachers and school personnel who serve students in our neighborhood public schools. Building on a $783 million increase in K-12 education funding approved by the Legislature and Governor DeSantis last year, our proposed Senate budget raises per-student funding to an unprecedented level again this year, with specific funding dedicated to support teachers and other school personnel.
“I am also pleased to see continued investment in protection of our environment and water quality. Continuing our investment in storage and treatment projects North of Lake Okeechobee, Red Tide and toxic algae research, septic-to-sewer conversions, and development of coastal resiliency planning are all critical components of a long-term strategy to restore and protect Florida’s unique natural environment and the quality of life we as Floridians enjoy.
“Our Senate budget also expands funding for resources for vulnerable Floridians, including increased funding for home and community-based services for Floridians with unique abilities, and a rate enhancement for the dedicated providers who serve Floridians living in nursing homes. We also include a meaningful investment in across-the-board salary increases for our hardworking state employees, as well as forward-looking investments in infrastructure that are critical to future security and economic growth.
“I am grateful to Chair Bradley, our Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs, and all Senators, for their diligent work in preparing this budget and look forward to beginning negotiations with our colleagues in the Florida House in the weeks ahead.”
Statement by Senator Rob Bradley, Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations
“The Senate budget appropriates $500 million in a new Teacher Salary Increase Allocation, along with $325 million in increased flexible funding through the Base Student Allocation, which districts can invest in teachers and school district personnel. These significant increases allow us to reach Governor DeSantis’ goal of increasing the minimum classroom teacher salary over the next few years, while also providing opportunities for districts to invest in veteran teachers and the many other members of school district personnel who have such a tremendous impact on our children’s education.
“We also join with Governor DeSantis to continue significant investments in Everglades Restoration and protection of our water resources by dedicating $643.6 million to these important efforts. Additionally, our $125 million investment in Florida Forever continues our commitment to faithfully implement the Water and Land Conservation Amendment passed by voters.
“This year, one of our commitments from the onset of our budget planning was to invest in a salary increase for our state employees. In addition to an across-the-board raise, the Senate budget ensures that the increase in the cost of state employee health insurance is fully funded by the state. The increase in the cost of health insurance this year is approximately $640 for an individual and $1,440 for family coverage.”
“We continue our state investment in the national distinction of Florida’s higher education system by appropriating key funding for Florida’s State Colleges and State University System. Our budget also fully funds affordable housing opportunities with $387 million from the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds. Additionally, we are appropriating over $110 million in new funding in the Department of Corrections, as well as other key investments in our court system.”
The Senate’s $92.8 billion budget accounts for significant changes in estimates of future state obligations that occurred between the August and January consensus estimates developed by subject matters experts appointed by the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House. The Senate budget is based on January estimates not available when the Governor and Executive Branch Agencies submitted funding requests and recommendations in the fall of 2019.
Most notably, the Senate’s budget and related documents account for the addition of 10,000 students to the K-12 education system as well as a $216 million increase in costs associated with Florida’s Medicaid Program. The Senate’s budget also accounts for updates to the Department of Transportation Work Program that increased funding available for the state’s transportation infrastructure by $368.5 million as well as $57 million in federal funding recently awarded to Florida to combat opioid abuse and addiction.
Further, the Senate budget makes use of federal taxpayer dollars available to the state by including investments in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, nursing homes, and the Medicaid workload as well as Federal Drinking and Wastewater Revolving Loan Programs that return as much as four times the amount of funds invested by the state in these important programs.