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Florida Democrats Propose New Sunshine Deal Budget

Representative Ramon Alexander speaks about the New Sunshine Deal on March 6, 2019.
Casey Chapter

Florida Democrats have introduced their own budget and say it primarily aims to help working class citizens. This counters Governor Ron DeSantis’s budget of $91.3 billion.

Governor DeSantis’s budget allocates $335 million in tax cuts for families.

The Democrats raise this to $525 million for what Representative Amy Mercado calls a Working Families Tax Rebate Program.

“The funding will serve as a rebate against taxes paid by working families struggling to make ends meet," Mercado said. "It will also serve to expand our economy and create jobs.”

Both budgets propose sales tax holidays and cuts to the state’s corporate tax.

When it comes to health, DeSantis’ budget outlines $85 million to address the opioid crisis in Florida and another $25.7 million for mental health needs.

Representative Nick Durant says Democrats would allocate $100 million to the opioid epidemic. His party also wants to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“The bottom line is Medicaid expansion is a fiscally responsible way to help 700,000 Floridians in need of healthcare while making state funds available for other needs,” Durant said.

The Florida legislature has repeatedly rejected that plan.

While both parties have a good deal of agreement on environmental policy, DeSantis’s environmental funding includes $625 million for everglades restoration and clean water programs.

Representative Jennifer Webb says Democrats want to do the same, targeting algae blooms, rising sea levels and beach erosion.

“This funding will ensure that as our state grows so does our commitment to preserving what makes Florida so special to begin with," Webb said. And I’m proud to say that the new sunshine deal intends to do just that.”  

The Democratic budget allots $20 million to the Office of Resilient Coastline Program. DeSantis’s budget allots $6 million.

But while there’s environmental agreement, there’s a fight brewing on education. Democrats want teacher salary increases while republicans favor performance-based bonuses. They would also eliminate the Hope Scholarship for bullied students, citing a lack of use.