On Monday, November 18, Governor Ron DeSantis released his recommended budget for the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2020 - 2021. The Governor’s recommended state budget serves as an important starting point for both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate as they begin work on developing their own proposed state budgets. The Florida Legislature is constitutionally required to pass a state budget, officially titled as the General Appropriations Act, during the annual regular session.
The Governor’s proposed budget for State Fiscal Year 2020-2021 totals approximately $91.4 billion, and represents a slight 0.3% increase from the 2020 General Appropriations Act, the current state budget for SFY 2019 - 20. The chart below summarizes a comparison of the current SFY 2020 budget and Governor’s proposed SFY 2021 budget.
Health and Human Services received the largest portion of funding, totaling approximately $38.7 billion. This represents a 2.76% increase in appropriations from the current year. All educational programs and services combined received the second largest amount of funding, totaling approximately $27 billion. This represents an increase of approximately 3.6% from the current fiscal year.
Finally, Natural Resources, Environmental Issues, Growth Management and Transportation Expenditures represent the third largest portion of the SFY 2021 budget with funding equaling $14.1 billion, which represents a 4.47% decrease from the current fiscal year.
Proposed general revenue expenditures for SFY 2021 equal approximately $35 billion and trust fund expenditures total approximately $56 billion. The chart below compares expenditures between SFY 2020 and the proposed SFY 2021 budget by fund type.
County Funding Highlights
Health and Human Services
Shared County/State Juvenile Detention: The proposed budget estimates the counties’ portion of total Shared County/State Juvenile Detention to be $60,570,942. This represents an estimated increase of about $3.4 million from the current year budget and 48% of the total Juvenile Detention funding ($125,932,131).
Community Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services: Funded at approximately $770 million for all programs, which represents a $64 million reduction from the current year.
Additional Community Transitional Beds: $2.1 million for 24 additional forensic community transition beds, to divert individuals from the state mental health treatment facilities into community-based settings.
Community Action Treatment (CAT) Teams: $28.5 million, directed to DCF to contract with providers throughout the state for operation of CAT teams, which provide community-based services for children (aged 11 to 21) with mental health and/or substance abuse diagnoses. This is approximately equal to the current year funding.
Public Safety, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Local Matching Grant Program: $9 million for the program, which supports county programs that serve adults or youth who are in behavioral crisis and at risk of entering the criminal justice system. This is equal to the current year funding.
Crime Labs: Approximately $3 million in grants and aids to local governments for criminal investigations
Homeless Programs Challenge Grants: $3.1 million is appropriated to DCF for challenge grants, which are awarded to lead agencies of homeless assistance continuums of care.
Agricultural & Environment
Water Quality Highlights:
- Water Quality Improvement Grant Program: $150 million provided for a grant program (up to 50% match) to local government agencies making wastewater and stormwater improvements, including septic conversion and remediation. Of this total, $15 million is directed to projects in the St. Johns River, Suwannee River, and Apalachicola River watersheds, and $10 million is provided for coral reef ecosystem protection and restoration. This item is in line with the Blue-Green Algae Task Force consensus findings.
- Total Maximum Daily Loads: $50 million for TMDLs and to accelerate implementation of nutrient pollution reduction projects in BMAPs and other restoration plans, including green infrastructure and land acquisition projects. This item is in line with the Blue-Green Algae Task Force consensus findings.
- Harmful Algal Blooms: $10 million for innovative technologies and short-term solutions for addressing harmful algal blooms in fresh waterbodies; funds may also be used for the red tide emergency grant program and to support local government efforts in cleaning beach and coastal areas.
- Water Quality Enhancement and Accountability: $10.8 million for increased water quality monitoring, continuation of the water quality public information portal, and to support the Blue-Green Algae Task Force.
- Springs restoration: $50 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for springs restoration projects and land acquisition to protect springs.
Land Acquisition Funding Highlights:
- Florida Forever: $84 million
- Florida Communities Trust: $10 million
- Florida Recreation Development Assistance Grants: $6 million
Beach Management Funding Assistance Program: $50 million for grants and aids to local governments and non-state entities for beach management assistance, which is consistent with the current year funding level.
Resilient Coastline Initiative: $5.5 million to assist local governments with sea level rise planning and coastal resilience projects, including storm resiliency as well as coral reef restoration and monitoring.
Mosquito control programs: $2.6 million, which is equal to the current year funding level.
Transportation and Economic Development
- $267.2 million recommended for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program. This item includes proviso language directing local governments receiving SHIP dollars to prioritize hurricane housing recovery before using the funds for other projects.
- $119.8 million recommended for the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL).
Job Growth Grant Fund: Recommended at $50 million, an increase of $10 million over the current year level.
Visit Florida: $50 million recommended, which would continue operations for the next fiscal year.
Small County Outreach Program (SCOP): $77.3 million recommended; a $6 million increase over the current year funding.
Small County Road Assistance Program (SCRAP): $35.2 million recommended; a nearly $6 million increase over the current year funding.
Library Grants and Library Cooperatives: $25.6 million
Fiscally Constrained County Funding: $30.5 million, to offset the impacts of previously approved constitutional amendments
Emergency Distributions: $25 million in emergency distributions revenue sharing for small counties
Implementing & Conforming Bills
Appropriations Implementing and Conforming bills make certain changes to substantive law in order to implement the proposed General Appropriations Act. Implementing and Conforming Bill topics include:
Rural Regional Grant Fund/Rural Infrastructure Grant Fund:
The Governor’s recommended implementing bill includes amendments to the Rural Regional Grant Fund and the Rural Infrastructure Grant Fund consistent with those supported by FAC during the past two legislative sessions. The bill would increase the amount of funding allocated from the Rural Regional Grant Fund to the regional economic development organizations supporting the Rural Areas of Opportunity and would decrease the local match requirement from 100% to 25%. Recommended changes to the Rural Infrastructure Fund would allow the grant awards for up to 50% of the total infrastructure project cost, an increase from 30% of the project cost and allows the funds to be used to improve access to and availability of broad internet services through a partnership or partnerships with one of more dealers of communications services.
Funding for Everglades and Water Restoration:
The Governor’s recommended conforming bill would require a minimum appropriation of $625 million annually for Everglades restoration and water resources protection. The amount would include, at a minimum, specified amounts for Everglades restoration and the EAA reservoir, springs restoration, TMDLs, and projects within certain watersheds. This act would be repealed on June 30, 2023 unless reenacted by the Legislature.
Sales Tax Holidays:
The Governor’s recommended conforming bill would set a sales tax holiday, effective May 29, 2020 through June 7, 2020, for certain disaster preparedness supplies. The bill would also create a sales tax holiday for certain clothing items, school supplies, personal computers, and computer-related accessories, effective August 1, 2020 through August 8, 2020.