2022 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 2022 legislative session is over, even if it ran a little long. With a scheduled adjournment on Friday, March 11, lawmakers had to return the following Monday to vote on a massive $112.1 billion budget.

Florida TaxWatch and the state’s taxpayers had a number of successes. Many bills and budget issues supported by our research and recommendations passed. Our research and input that raised concerns with legislation, helped to improve them or fail passage, including changes to the tax audit system and a very costly approach to improving data privacy.

Examples include:

  • Extending VISIT Florida
  • Strengthening sea level rise resiliency
  • Expanding broadband to unserved areas
  • Adding financial literacy to graduation requirements
  • Tax holidays
  • Expanding telehealth
  • Providing education and employment incentives for probationers
  • Expanding criminal record expunction for juveniles who complete a diversion program
  • Extending COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers
  • Affordable housing
  • Proposed constitutional amendment to the November ballot that would create a new $50,000 homestead exemption for teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, EMTS, and other front-line workers.

If there is one word that sums up the 2022 session it might be “money.” There was a lot of it and a lot of it got spent. With state coffers reinforced with billions in federal aid and a rebounding economy that caused tax collections to consistently beat estimates, lawmakers had more money than they knew what to do with. The new budget is a 10.2 percent increase over last year’s, following another 10.2 percent increase in 2021. The $43.7 billion in General Revenue (GR) spending is an increase of nearly 20 percent. The budget is now $20 billion bigger than it was two years ago, not to mention the spending of billions in federal funds that are not included in these totals. The budget includes substantial increases in education, environmental, and health care spending, and state employees are getting a 5.4 percent pay raise. And of course, legislators got an unprecedented amount of their local projects to take back home. The is also significant tax relief of $658 million, with most of it going to individual taxpayers, with relatively little targeted at businesses. And there is still nearly $10 billion in GR reserves leftover (including two new reserve funds).

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