State Budget Enhances Reserves to Respond to COVID-19 Impacts, Invests in
Florida’s Teachers, State Employees, Affordable Housing and Environment
Senate President Bill Galvano today offered the following statement regarding Governor Ron DeSantis signing House Bill 5001, the 2020-21 General Appropriations Act, Florida’s balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
“These last few months have been challenging in ways we could not have anticipated when we began our budget planning last fall. Our constituents, their businesses, families and way of life have been impacted in unprecedented ways. More than four months into this pandemic, the situation is still evolving, presenting new challenges on an almost daily basis. Despite these significant challenges, this balanced budget is a work product the people of Florida can be proud of. Key priorities are funded, and our state remains on solid financial footing heading into the new fiscal year.
“Sound financial decisions over the past decade, significant reserves, and above estimate revenue collections earlier this year, combined with federal funding to combat myriad impacts of coronavirus, have created a solid financial buffer that eliminated the need for the draconian cuts some anticipated early on. The fact remains that the tremendous impacts of the coronavirus on our constituents and our economy have changed the budget landscape considerably since we passed our budget in late March. The significant and difficult vetoes issued today by Governor DeSantis further buffer our working capital reserves, creating flexibility that will be needed in both the coming year and during the next budget cycle to respond to challenges which are today unknown.
“Despite the record vetoes, I am pleased to see our final budget make good on several commitments the Senate made in its initial budget, from significant funding for affordable housing, to a meaningful pay raise for state employees, to critical funds that will preserve our environment for future generations of Floridians. This budget builds on a $783 million increase in K-12 education funding approved by the Legislature and Governor DeSantis last year, with specific funding dedicated to the Governor’s priority of increasing the starting salary for Florida’s teachers as well as funding to reward Florida’s hardworking veteran teachers.
“Our 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.
“I am grateful to Governor DeSantis, Chair Bradley and our Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs, our House colleagues, and all of the staff who have worked so diligently these last several months to ensure our state has a balanced budget that not only sets aside the resources needed to respond to the evolving COVID-19 public health emergency, but also keeps our state on the road to a full economic recovery by investing in the priorities that are important to the constituents we serve.”
For more information, please visit www.FLSenate.gov.