House and Senate budget proposals released
The Legislature is also moving very quickly on
the new state budget. Both chambers’ appropriations
bills were released this week. The House
version carries a price tag of just under $113.0 billion, while the Senate
proposes $113.7 billion. This compares
to current spending of $110.2 billion and the Governor’s recommendation of $114.8
The two chambers are remarkably
close on many of the details, but there are differences to be worked out.
State employee pay raise - The Senate provides $513 million for a 3 percent raise for all employees and an additional 5 percent for job categories including accountants, auditors; IT, lab techs, attorneys, and nurses. The House doubles that, providing $1.1 billion for a 6 percent across-the-board increase and additional pay for corrections workers.
Hurricane Relief - The Senate creates a $350 million Hurricane Recovery Grant Program for the mitigation of local and county revenue losses and operating
deficits; infrastructure repair and replacement; and debris removal. The House offers $25 million. Both budgets provide $106 million for hurricane-related beach renourishment.
School Funding - The House and Senate both put an additional $2.1 billion into the public school funding formula, increasing per student spending by approximately 5 percent. $1 billion of the increase is courtesy of local property owners, as the Required Local Effort millage rate is not rolled-back, despite to large increase in taxable value (12%).
Paydown Debt - Florida TaxWatch has recommended that the state use some of the excess non-recurring revenues available to retire state debt ahead of schedule to cut interest cuts. Both chambers want to do that, the House provides $137 million and the Senate commits $400 million.
Budget Stabilization Fund - The House would transfer $1.3 billion from General Revenue to the BSF, while the Senate would transfer only $500 million.
Member Projects - The budgets are also chock full of local member-requested projects, more than 1,000 projects in each budget.
New General Revenue estimates add $7 billion for the
In what has been a regular occurrence, the Florida General
Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference significantly increased the estimate of the
amount of GR that will be collected. This is the sixth conference in a row that
has produced a rosier revenue forecast. The latest estimating conference, held
March 13, increased the estimate for FY2022-23 and FY2023-24 by a total of
$7.06 billion. This is more good news for legislators who are currently in the
process of developing the next state budget (FY2023-24.) Despite a gloomier new
national and state economic forecast, which includes a mild recession and
continued worries including inflation and housing, GR collections have exceeded
expectations by almost $3 billion in the first six months since the August 2022
estimates. Actual collections have now bested estimates for 30 consecutive
months. The forecast continues this through the last four months of the current
fiscal year. As a result, the GR estimate for FY 2022-23 was increased by $4.27
billion. And while the conference is predicting a “downshift” next year that
will reduce collections from this year’s windfall level, the new estimate for
FY2023-24 was still increased by $2.78 billion from the August estimate.