Budget Watch - 2016-17 Legislative Budget Requests
State Agencies Request a 3.0 Percent General Revenue Funding Increase for Next Year
Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion.
The agencies’ Legislative Budget Requests (LBRs) are the first step in developing a budget for the next fiscal year. The Governor will use the LBRs in developing his budget recommendations.
Agencies appear more optimistic about funding than they were last year, when they requested a smaller increase of $660.8 million (0.9 percent). While 22 agencies requested an increase in funding, eight agencies asked for less than they will spend this year, although three of those decreases are very small.
Even when agencies request increased spending for specific programs, total requests can be lower than current spending in large part due to non-recurring appropriations in the current budget (such as local projects and one-time grants), which are often not requested for the next budget. Agencies are also requesting 114,700 state employee positions, an increase of 1,083 positions (1.0 percent). Most of the increase comes from Justice Administration (State Attorneys and Public Defenders) and the Department of Corrections.
The next step in the budget process is the Governor’s budget recommendations, which will be released in November 2015 and will be analyzed in an upcoming Budget Watch. The agency LBRs are only requests, and the Governor can choose not to recommend individual components of the LBRs, he can adjust the amounts, and he can add his own initiatives. In addition, his expected tax cut recommendations will reduce the money available for appropriation. The Governor’s recommended budget will then be the starting point for legislative budget deliberations. The Legislature can make any changes it sees fit, including adding back items from the LBRs not recommended by the Governor.