Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis released his budget recommendations totaling $114.8 billion for fiscal year 2023-2024. This is a $3.9 billion increase over the current year $110.9 billion budget. The Framework for Freedom Budget continues Governor DeSantis’ commitment to Florida’s K-12 students, parents and teachers, environmental resources, and law enforcement, all while maintaining healthy reserves, including $6.9 billion in General Revenue. The Framework for Freedom Budget recommends a realignment of priorities across state agencies, reducing excess vacant positions to accommodate the additions of new positions for critical programs and services where they are needed. The budget proposes cutting taxes by $2 billion to provide relief to Florida families. This includes the $500 million Toll Relief Program which began on January 1, 2023.

Referring to the budget proposal as “Framework for Freedom,” Governor DeSantis and his executive agencies will begin the process in the coming weeks of presenting the budget to the Florida House and Senate for their consideration.  While the Governor makes budget recommendations to the Legislature, it is the Legislature that ultimately determines the state budget for the year.  The budget, which must be balanced, is the only bill the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass each year.  The Legislature will make their final decisions during the Session that begins Tuesday, March 7th.

Key Takeaways

  • Proposing a $114.8 billion budget, a billion increase from last year
    • General Revenue portion is $42.4 billion
    • The General Revenue unallocated portion is $6.9 billion
    • New state reserve fund, named the State Investment Fund $1billion
    • $100 million will be every year moving forward to grow the Fund to further strengthen Florida’s fiscal reserves
    • Florida’s total reserves are $15.7 billion
  • Establishes the Debt Reduction Program and pledges $400 million to immediately pay down state debt. A portion of investment returns from the State Investment Fund serve as a funding source for the Debt Reduction Program, enabling the state to pay down debt prior to its maturity and generate taxpayer savings.
  • State Pay Package The Framework for Freedom Budget recommends $695 million to retain staff and continue to recruit critical vacancies such as law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and child protection investigators. The pay package provides:
    • An across-the-board 5 percent pay increase for all state employees;
    • A historic pay increase for state law enforcement officers;
    • An increase for correctional officers to $23 per hour;
    • An additional 10 percent increase over the statewide average for certain “hard-to-hire” positions of importance for state government; and
    • Targeted pay adjustments for critical staff of the Department of Children and Families child protection system and Department of Business and Professional Regulation licensing professionals, to reduce the wait time for licensees.

The budget proposes cutting taxes by $2 billion to provide relief to Florida families. This includes:

  • $500 million Toll Relief Program which began on January 1, 2023
  • A permanent sales tax exemption for baby and toddler necessities for $138.7 million
  • A permanent sales tax exemption for cribs and strollers for approximately $3.9 million
  • A permanent sales tax exemption on gas stoves for $7 million
  • A permanent sales tax exemption for over-the-counter pet medications for approximately $33.6 million
  • Additionally, the Governor’s budget saves Florida Businesses $141.4 million – This permanently increases the amount of savings provided to businesses who e-file to the first $60 of the sales tax return
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption for cosmetic and toiletries for $72 million
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption for dental and oral hygiene products for $45.3 million
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption on children’s books for $17.3 million
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption on children’s toys for $132.7 million
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption on children’s athletic equipment for $42.5 million
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption on household items under $25 for $138 million
  • Two Back-to-School sales tax holidays, one in the fall and one in the spring as students return to school from winter break, to save Florida families over $210 million
  • A 14-day Disaster Preparedness sales tax holiday to save Florida families $27.1 million
  • A 15-week Freedom Summer sales tax holiday to save Florida families more than $224 million
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption on pet foods for $170.2 million
  • A 7-day Skilled Worker Tool sales tax holiday to save Florida workers $13 million
  • A 1-year sales tax exemption on ENERGY STAR appliances for $82.4 million
  • A two-year extension for the exemption on natural gas fuel tax for $1.2 million

Breakdown of the Governor’s Budget Recommendations


  • $1 billion, an increase of $200 million, in funding to provide salary increases for new and veteran teachers and other eligible instructional personnel.
  • $1.6 billion in funding for early child education, including more than $451 million for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK).
  • Historic $26 billion in funding, of which $14.1 billion is record state funding for the K-12 public school system.
  • $1.5 billion in state operating funding for the Florida College System.
  • $3.1 billion in state operating funding for the State University System.
  • $125 million in total funding to reward quality nursing education programs to address nursing shortages.
  • $5 million in funding for the Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program.
  • $1 million in funding for the Out-of-State Law Enforcement Equivalency Reimbursement to help cover the cost of law enforcement officers moving to Florida.
  • $100 million for the recruitment and retention of highly qualified faculty at state universities.
  • $15 million for the institutional overhaul and restructuring of the New College of Florida.


As part of more than $6.8 billion in funding to protect our environment, agriculture and natural resources, the budget includes over $3.5 billion specifically for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Governor DeSantis builds on this historic investment with Executive Order 23-06, calling for $3.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration and protection of our water resources, including water quality and water supply. The Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget initiates this investment, by dedicating more than $1.1 billion.

  • $65 million to improve water quality and combat the effects and impacts of harmful algal blooms, including blue-green algae and red tide
  • $85 million for the continued stabilization, water treatment, and closure of Piney Point
  • $370 million for targeted water quality improvements to achieve significant, meaningful and measurable nutrient reductions in key waterbodies across the state and to implement the recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force
  • $614 million for Everglades restoration projects
  • $50 million to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs. This funding may also be used for land acquisition to protect spring sheds and is crucial to supporting homeowners and local communities as they work with the state to achieve septic and nutrient reduction requirements.
  • $50 million is provided for the Alternative Water Supply Grant Program to help communities plan for and implement vital conservation, reuse and other alternative water supply projects
  • $406 million for resiliency, including $350 million for implementation of statewide resilience projects and $56 million for resiliency planning and coral reef protection
  • $50 million in beach nourishment funding to continue addressing Florida’s critically eroded shorelines. In addition, Governor DeSantis recommends $106 million for Hurricanes Ian and Nicole beach erosion recovery projects to fully fund DEP’s Hurricanes Ian and Nicole Recovery Plan for Florida’s Beach and Dune Systems.
  • Included within $21.2 million for coral reef protection is $10.2 million to implement Florida’s Coral Reef Restoration and Recovery Initiative to restore 25 percent of Florida’s Coral Reef by 2050.
  • $15 million to support the ongoing oyster restoration operation in Apalachicola Bay.
  • $194 million for the cleanup of contaminated sites with a focus on promoting redevelopment of these areas once cleanup has been completed.
  • $100 million for the Florida Forever Program, the state’s premier conservation and recreation land acquisition program.
  • $145 million to protect our prized properties and waterways in Florida.
  • $45 million to infrastructure improvements and resource management with the goal of maintaining this high standard and ensuring all visitors and residents alike have access to these prized properties for generations to come.
  • $3.4 million for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to remove pythons from the Everglades.
  • $2.7 billion for Florida’s agricultural industry
  • $29.4 million for citrus research and the Citrus Health Response Program
  • $11.5 million for wildfire suppression equipment and $4.9 million for road and bridge maintenance to allow for better access for land management and wildfire suppression activities.

Transportation and Economic Development

  • $13.4 billion for the State Transportation Work Program, which is an ongoing five-year plan for the implementation and completion of transportation infrastructure projects. These projects include construction and maintenance of Florida’s roads, bridges, rails, seaports and other public transportation systems that grow the state’s economy and improve the quality of life for our citizens
  • The Moving Florida Forward Initiative will accelerate the development and completion of 20 priority transportation projects over the next four years that will provide additional highway and road capacity to meet the needs of Florida’s ever-growing economy and population. This initiative invests $4 billion of general revenue, which will be leveraged for a total of $7 billion.
  • In addition to the $7 billion Moving Florida Forward Initiative, the Framework for Freedom Budget includes $14.7 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation. This investment will provide for the retention and creation of more than 244,000 jobs.
  • $2.6 million and 20 positions to conduct additional motor carrier and commercial motor vehicle inspections throughout the state, prioritizing human trafficking and human smuggling interdictions.
  • $1.5 million and 8 positions to establish Florida Highway Patrol presence on the Central Florida Expressway to enhance motorist and road safety.
  •  $12 million to continue implementation of the Governor’s initiative to protect Floridians against the harms resulting from illegal immigration by facilitating the transport of unauthorized aliens.

Open Federally Declared Disasters – Funding to Communities and State Operations

  • $2.1 billion is provided in federal and state funding is provided so that communities and the state can respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies as well as mitigate against future disasters or emergencies.
    • $224.2 million in state match is provided for the state cost share associated with authorized federal funding to eligible local and state recipients for reimbursement of the response and recovery cost, as well as state management costs relating to federally declared disasters.
  • $117 million to construct three new warehouses and implement a state of the art warehouse management system to better inventory needed supplies for disasters, reduce waste, and ensure the state is fully stocked and prepared for any future emergency needs.
  • $10 million to support Florida’s eight Urban Search and Rescue Teams.
  • $15.6 million for community disaster mitigation and risk reduction initiatives.
  • $6.4 million for a new State Flood Mitigation Grant Program.

Rural Recovery and Development

  • $402.7 million to fully fund the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds:
    • $121.7 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program.
    • $281 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP)
  • $100 million for the second year of the Hometown Heroes Housing Program.
  • $362.6 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds directed toward local hurricane recovery and hardening efforts throughout the state. These funds include several CDBG programs, including the CDBG Disaster Recovery Program for all named hurricanes since 2017 and the CDBG Mitigation Program.
  • $100 million for the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, which supports additional economic growth in Florida by providing local areas with funding for proposed public infrastructure and workforce training projects.
  • $100 million to continue the vital state marketing and promotion efforts of VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation and a source of travel planning for visitors across the globe.
  • $170.9 million for the second phase of the State Small Business Credit Initiative, providing Florida’s small businesses with essential access to additional growth and support funding.
  • $2.1 million to grow the Export Promotion and Assistance Program within Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI).
  • $30 million for the Rural Infrastructure Fund, to support local rural infrastructure projects such as roads, storm and wastewater systems, and telecommunications facilities.
  • $100 million to support broadband initiatives to expand high-speed internet deployment and access to Florida communities.
  • $13 million for the Digital Capacity Grant Program, providing resources to implement the Digital Adoption and Use Plan to achieve statewide digital literacy.
  • $18.4 million for additional federal funding under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). In partnership with local agencies, LIHEAP assists low-income households in meeting the costs of their home heating and cooling needs.
  • $37.5 million for additional federal funding under the Low-Income Water Assistance Program (LIWAP). Modeled after LIHEAP, LIWAP assists low-income households in meeting the costs of their home water and wastewater needs.
  • $21.9 million for additional federal funding under the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WAP provides resources to install energy conservation measures in the homes of low-income persons, focusing on homes occupied by the elderly, persons with disabilities, and children.
  • $5 million for Cultural and Museum Grants to support projects that further the state’s cultural objectives.
  • $525,000 to support the Florida Main Street Program. This program encourages economic development in Florida’s historic commercial districts. There are currently 50 designated Main Street communities throughout the state.
  • $22.5 million for election oversight activities within the Department of State, with a focus on election integrity and security

Health and Human Services

  • $166 million in cancer research funding, with $20 million in funding to establish the Florida Cancer Innovation Fund to
  • $143 million to enhance services for pregnant and postpartum women and children.
  • $3.8 million to support premiums for families who receive services through the Florida Healthy Kids program and were impacted by Hurricane Ian
  • $76 million for increased hospital rates for Florida hospitals that provide in-patient services for acutely ill newborns and pediatric patients.
  • $531 million in funding to support a comprehensive array of behavioral health services
  • Of the total $531 million, $78.9 million of General Revenue and federal State Fiscal Recovery Funds is recommended to sustain and expand the bed capacity at state operated mental health treatment facilities.
  • $5.4 million in enhanced funding to support pediatric behavioral health services.
  • To help combat the opioid crisis, $334 million to increase access to treatment such as prevention services, medication assisted treatment, recovery support and continues research and surveillance activities that seek to reduce overdoses, unemployment and the incidence of hospitalization and homelessness.
  • $147.4 million from the Opioid Settlement Agreement to establish the Office of Opioid Recovery to oversee these funds, an accredited Graduate Medical Education program to increase the number of psychiatric residents and other initiatives that support education, treatment, and prevention for individuals with substance use disorders.
  • $96 million to support those served by the child welfare system
  • $15.1 million for maintenance adoption subsidies to support individuals who adopt children from the child welfare system.
  • $19 million to support individuals who are in need of housing assistance and are at risk of becoming homeless.
  • $1.5 million to provide services for victims of human trafficking. Services include individualized clinical treatment, behavioral supports such as cognitive behavioral treatment.
  • $9 million to expand services provided by the 17 Memory Disorder Clinics and the Brain Bus to enhance diagnosis and prevention strategies for those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia. Additionally, $5 million is provided to increase services through the Community Care for the Elderly Program and the Home Care for the Elderly Program.
  • $1 million in funding for the Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence (FACE)
  • $400,000 in funding for Hope Navigators to join seniors and caregivers in receiving services and resources to ensure enhanced qualify of life.
  • $79.6 million in funding to allow an additional 1,200 individuals in crisis to be served through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities waiver program. The budget also provides nearly $3.4 million to support individuals who have both a development disability and mental health diagnosis receive evaluation and treatment in the most appropriate setting.
  • $14.7 million to support nursing home residents, medical and non-medical equipment upgrades, capital improvements, and the remainder of the staff needed for the Ardie R. Copas and Alwyn Cashe State Veterans’ Nursing Homes. The budget also continues a more than $2 million investment to assist veterans in training, networking and mentoring throughout the state.

Public Safety

  • $124.3 million to provide salary increases across various public safety agencies, on top of the 5 percent statewide pay increase.
  • $20.7 million to support law enforcement efforts to combat the opioid epidemic affecting Florida’s communities:
    • $20 million for the creation of the State Assistance for Fentanyl Eradication (S.A.F.E.) in Florida Program. These funds will assist local law enforcement in combatting the elicit trafficking and sale of fentanyl within Florida. Funds will be provided to FDLE to be distributed to local agencies, with priority given to fiscally constrained counties; and
    •  $749,146 for FDLE to expand the mission and capabilities of the Anti-Heroin Task Force statewide.
  • $30 million for a second round of recruitment bonus payments for law enforcement officers who are new to the profession in the state, including those relocating from other states. This initiative will provide bonus payments of $5,000 to new eligible law enforcement officers.
  • $220 million from reallocated unobligated federal State Fiscal Recovery Funds to provide one-time recognition payments to each essential state and local first responder
  • $4.4 million to improve staffing levels at FDC.
  • $47.2 million for FDC to make Florida’s correctional facilities safer.
  • $28.9 million for FDC to improve inmate health and well-being.
  • $18.3 million to expand and enhance FDLE databases used daily by law enforcement to investigate crimes and apprehend criminals.
  • $2 million for FDLE to provide body armor to local law enforcement agencies, with a focus on agencies within fiscally constrained counties.
  • $18 million, in addition to the five percent pay increase provided to all state employees, to provide salary increases to State Attorneys and Assistant State Attorneys.
  • $15.7 million for the State Court System, in addition to the five percent pay increase provided to all state employees, to provide salary increases for due process staff, including court reporters, court interpreters, case managers, trial court staff attorneys, and court program specialists.
  • $12 million for the Department of Juvenile Justice to create a unified juvenile justice education system. The Florida Scholars Academy provides various educational opportunities, and trade skills in high demand occupations.
  • $44 million to ensure that local law enforcement agencies have the tools necessary to effectively and efficiently manage emergency 911 (E911) call services
  • $98 million to grow the Florida State Guard, a civilian volunteer force, to aid during emergencies
  • $9.2 million to support Florida National Guard recruitment, retention, and reward programs to develop and sustain a diverse force of soldiers that prosper not only in their National Guard duties but also in their careers and families.
  • $178 million to launch a multi-year initiative at Camp Blanding for the construction of multiple state-of-the-art training facilities for the Florida National Guard.
  • $16 million to make needed repairs and renovations to 63 outdated readiness centers across Florida.
  • $149 million to build on its investment to harden Florida’s cybersecurity framework
  • $32 million to address needed land and building updates throughout the state in improvement projects and $22 million in new facility design and acquisition
  • $2.1 million in new anti-fraud initiatives at regulatory agencies to thwart bad actors defrauding taxpayer dollars and threatening the livelihood of our most vulnerable populations. $3.5 million is also provided for identity verification software to protect consumers against business and professional license fraud, ensuring those doing business in Florida are both legal and skilled to do the job.

For more information on the proposed 2023-2024 state budget, visit:

If you have any questions, please contact Ron Brisé, Chair of Gunster’s Government Affairs Law & Lobbying practice.

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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 13 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, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa Bayshore, Tampa Downtown, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 280 attorneys and consultants, and over 290 committed professional 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


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