DeSantis Proposes $96.6 Billion Budget For Upcoming Fiscal Year
Governor Ron DeSantis is recommending a budget of $96.6 billion for the next fiscal year, an increase of $4 billion from last year's budget. DeSantis’ plan comes as the state is expecting a deficit of more than $2.7 billion. The Governor says a large amount of his spending plan is earmarked for COVID-19 related costs and propped up by federal money.
"$2.6 billion increase related to COVID expenditures. A lion share of that is Medicaid, the overall increase in Medicaid is about $3 billion year over year. And our Department of Emergency Management increase for pandemic response is $400 million," said DeSantis.
Other highlights include a call for $1 billion in grants to cities and counties to combat climate change. and $10 million for the Resilient Coastlines Program within the Department of Environmental Protection. DeSantis says the goal of the program will be to help combat sea-level rise and protecting coral reefs.
Florida Conservation Voters’ Carson Mitchell says the money doesn’t do enough.
“As we know, Florida is woefully behind in planning for climate change. So the Governor’s commitment to invest a billion dollars in resiliency funding for local governments to better plan and prepare for sea-level rise and flooding is welcome and necessary," said Mitchell. "But at the same time, the governor has failed to invest in or lead in reducing our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.”
Mitchell says a transition to clean renewable energy is a better solution.
Governor Ron DeSantis’s budget also assigns $5 million to help the Florida Department of Corrections with officer recruitment and retention. The money would go toward pay increases and new positions.
“General Inch really believes in the 8.5-hour shifts instead of the 12-hour shifts so we kind of did a pilot last time we’re going to continue doing that," said DeSantis.
DOC Secretary Mark Inch has previously warned lawmakers the department is underfunded, and officers, underpaid. DeSantis’s spending proposal for the next fiscal year features a $500 pay increase for new officer hires $1,000-dollar increases for those with two years of service and an additional thousand for those with five or more years of service.