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When the gavel dropped in March, Florida’s Legislature had approved a $93.2 billion dollar state budget. With the state battling the fiscal impacts of COVID-19, Governor Ron DeSantis made significant cuts, totaling $1 billion, to the spending plan for FY 2020-2021. DeSantis signed the $92.2 billion budget on Monday, including $6.3 billion set aside in reserves and $350 million in tax relief. Highlights from the 2020-2021 state budget can be found below. Gunster’s Government Affairs Team is committed to keeping you informed, if there is any way our team can be of service to you please contact us.

Overview of the 2020-2021 Budget

Vetoed Funding:

  • Affordable Housing: $225 million earmarked for SHIP (State Housing Initiatives Partnership), however Governor DeSantis stated this cut would be offset by federal funding through the CARES act
  • Florida Job Growth Grant Fund: $20 million in funding for the state’s economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state
  • Guardian Program: $41.5 million cut from the budget for The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program created to protect public schools with the addition of armed personnel trained by the police to respond to dangerous on campus situations, currently 42 counties in the state participate in The Guardian Program
  • Find the full veto list here

Approved Funding:

  • Affordable Housing: $115 million allocated for the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL), for the rehabilitation of apartments in need of repair or the building of new units where needed, these apartments hose Florida’s most vulnerable populations
  • Teacher Pay: $500 million was allocated to raise K-12 teacher salaries, including $100 million to raise the salaries of veteran teachers and other instructional personnel. This increase will place Florida in the top 5 for teacher pay.  Read More
  • State Worker Pay: $249 million allocated to state worker pay, increasing nearly 90,000 salaries by 3%
  • Higher Education: The budget allocates for increases in operating funding for the following: $1.3 billion for the Florida College System and $2.7 billion for the State University System. Additionally, $18.9 million in increases for Florida’s historically black colleges and universities
  • Environment: $625 million allocated for Everglades restoration and water resource protection projects, including funding for the Everglades restoration, targeted water quality improvements, projects to combat harmful algal blooms, and an additional $100 million for Florida Forever, the state’s conservation and preservation program
  • Health and Human Services: $117 million in funding for children and families who receive aid through Florida’s child welfare system, $8.7 million in funding for the Office of Public and Professional Guardianship, protecting Florida’s elderly population, and a total of $138 million in total allocations to continue to combat the opioid epidemic in Florida
  • Infrastructure: $9.2 billion in funding for the State Transportation Work Program, including  $2.5 billion for highway construction, $400.5 million for aviation improvements, $885.5 million for rail/transit projects and $236.4 million for safety initiatives
  • Emergency Response: $1.3 billion in combined federal and state funding for emergency and natural disaster response and recovery
  • Find full details on the budget here

General Revenue Collection Report for May

Last week Florida Senate President Bill Galvano issued a memorandum regarding the General Revenue Collection Report for May. President Galvano stated that general revenue collections for the early months of 2020 came in over estimate allowing for additional funds not included in budget planning. Additionally the state received federal funding through the CARES act and other federal legislation. These factors eliminated the need for immediate cuts to the 2019-2020 budget. President Galvano stated that Governor DeSantis’s necessary vetoes to the 2020-2021 budget will allow for greater flexibility when preparing next year’s budget. 
The General revenue Collection Report for May reflects activity that occurred in April, and reflected a combined revenue loss of $779.6 million prior to the estimate. Included in this loss is $125.8 million in combined revenue loss from delayed payment of taxes and fees due to state orders, this is expected to be recaptured in revenue estimates in the proceeding months. This brings Florida’s total revenue loss to date to approximately $1.3 billion under estimate, well within the state’s reserves. Read the memorandum here

If you have any questions, please contact Gunster’s Government Affairs Law and Lobbying Practice Group Leader, Ronald A. Brisé.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.


About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 12 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With nearly 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at www.gunster.com.

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