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2020 Taxpayers Guide to the FY2020-21 Florida State Budget

Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2020-21 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2020.

The 2020 Florida Legislature passed a $93.216 billion General Appropriations Act after having to extend the session for a week in order to negotiate the final budget details. Lawmakers appropriated an additional $14.1 million in other bills. The session ended just as COVID-19 began to take hold in Florida so the budget was not impacted much by the pandemic. There was only $52.4 million in coronavirus related spending in the budget ($25.1 million in state funds to match $27.3 in federal funds). Towards the end, lawmakers reduced the tax cut package and some spending to provide for an extra $200 million in GR reserves for to help prepare for the impact of the virus. COVID-19 related spending has not yet been a problem, and may not be, as $4.6 billion in federal funds is available. However, the pandemic’s impact on state revenues is another story. With one month of collections data still not in, state General Revenue collections are $1.5 billion below the estimate the new budget was based on.

Because of this, Governor DeSantis did not hold back on his line-item veto authority. After waiting until just two days before the new fiscal year started on July 1, the Governor vetoed just over $1 billion, including $488 million in GR spending. As Florida TaxWatch recommended in our 2020 Budget Turkey Watch Report, the majority of the vetoes were local member projects. But the vetoes also included $225 million in affordable housing funding, $134 million in lottery school funding, and millions of dollars in recurring appropriations in the budget base. Even the Governor’s

$20 million Job Growth Grant Fund was axed. These vetoes are reflected in this Budget Guide’s spending totals.

After deducting the Governor’s vetoes, the net result is FY2020-21 appropriations totaling $92.270 billion, still a $1.3 billion increase over the previous year. As is usually the case, it is the largest state budget in history.

The FY 2020-21 budget may change before the year is over. The pandemic’s impact on revenues will continue, and if a budget deficit is projected, the Legislature will have to come back to address it.

In addition to many facts and figures explaining this year’s budget, past data are also provided to put it in historical context. We hope this annual budget pocket guide gives you the information you need to better understand where and how your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.

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