CURRENT YEAR SURPLUS NOW $8.8 BILLION
The August 18 General Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) increased Florida’s general revenue projections by $1.567 billion (3.6 percent) in the current budget year and $1.203 billion (2.6 percent) in FY2024-25--a two-year total of $2.770 billion. Add in the $1.084 billion that actual collections exceeded the previous estimate in the last four months of FY2022-23, and the Legislature has an additional $3.854 billion available for next state budget. The new estimate accounts for the $1 billion reduction in revenues from 2023 tax relief and other legislative changes.
An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process
This is the Florida TaxWatch annual independent review of Florida’s FY2023-24 budget process. The report was started in 1983 and promotes oversight and integrity in the state’s budgeting process based on the principle that: because money appropriated by the Legislature belongs to the taxpayers of Florida, the process must be thorough, thoughtful, transparent, and accountable. Every appropriation should receive proper deliberation and public scrutiny. This includes member-requested projects.
Florida’s new state budget for FY2023-24 carries a price tag of $117.0 billion, which is a 6.2 percent increase over current spending. The budget also contains a few billion dollars in spending that is technically appropriated for FY2022-23, so it is not included in the $117.0 billion total.
Ten years ago, the Legislature began a budgeting practice that is not in the interest of sound budgeting, transparency, thoughtful deliberation, or the taxpayers of Florida. The practice in question is the introduction of Supplemental Funding lists. These have - come to be commonly known, and even referred to by legislators, as the “Sprinkle Lists” – as in the “sprinkling” of millions of additional dollars for appropriations projects around the state at the last-minute during budget conference.
The annual Florida TaxWatch Budget Turkey Watch Report was started in 1983 and promotes oversight and integrity in the state’s budgeting process. The report identifies appropriations that circumvent proper review, transparency, and accountability standards and is presented to the Governor for inclusion in his or her veto considerations