This week, the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate passed their recommended budgets for the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-2022. Each legislative chamber’s recommended state budget serves as an important statement of their priorities as work on developing a balanced state budget continues. The Florida Legislature is constitutionally required to pass a state budget, officially titled as the General Appropriations Act, during the annual regular session.
The House and Senate’s proposed budget for State Fiscal Year 2021-2022 totals approximately $97.1 billion and $95.0 billion respectively. The Senate proposal does not include the more than $10 billion in non-recurring federal relief money from the American Rescue Act, however, the House proposal includes $7.912 billion in section 98 in the back of the budget, contingent upon the receipt of the federal funds. Please see the end of the budget section of this document for detail on how the House allocates these additional funds. The chart below summarizes a comparison of the House’s proposed SFY 2021-2022 budget and the Senate’s proposed budget for SFY 2021-2022.
Health and Human Services received the largest portion of funding for the House and Senate’s proposed budgets for SFY 2021-2022, totaling approximately $42.1 billion and $42.3 billion respectively. All educational programs and services combined received the second largest amount of funding, totaling approximately $28.7 billion and $26.3 billion respectively.
Finally, Natural Resources, Environmental Issues, Growth Management and Transportation Expenditures represent the third largest portion of the House and Senate’s proposed budgets for SFY 2021-2022 with funding equaling $14.4 billion.
Proposed general revenue expenditures for House and Senate SFY 2021-2022 budgets equal approximately $34.9 billion and $34.8 billion respectively, while trust fund expenditures total approximately $62.2 billion and $60.2 billion respectively. The chart below compares expenditures between the proposed House and Senate SFY 2021- 2022 budgets by fund type.
Health & Human Services
Shared County/State Juvenile Detention: The House and Senate proposed budget estimates the counties’ portion of total Shared County/State Juvenile Detention to be $61.8 million.
Community Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services: Funded at approximately $902 million in the House proposed budget and $956 million in the Senate’s proposed budget.
Community Action Treatment (CAT) Teams: $30.8 million the House budget and $30.75 million in the Senate budget, directed to the Department of Children and Families (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.
Public Safety, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Local Matching Grant Program: $9 million for the program in both the House and Senate budgets, 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 proposed Governor’s Budget.
Crime Labs: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate approximately $3.0 million and $3.1 million respectively, in grants and aids to local governments for criminal investigations.
Homeless Programs Challenge Grants: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $3.2 million and $1.2 million respectively, to DCF for challenge grants, which are awarded to lead agencies of homeless assistance continuums of care.
Agricultural & Environment
Water Quality Highlights:
- Septic-to-Sewer/Stormwater Improvements: The House and Senate allocate roughly $141 million provided for a grant program (up to 50% match) to local government agencies making wastewater and stormwater improvements, including septic conversion and remediation under 403.0673 F.S.
- Water Quality Enhancement and Accountability: The House and Senate budgets allocate $10.8 million for increased water quality monitoring, creation of a water quality public information portal, and for the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. The task force will support key funding and restoration initiatives to expedite nutrient reduction in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will continue to expand statewide water quality analytics for the nutrient over-enrichment analytics assessment and water quality information portal to include a comprehensive statewide flood vulnerability and sea level rise data set.
- Total Maximum Daily Loads: The House allocates $25 million for Total Maximum Daily Loads and to accelerate implementation of nutrient pollution reduction projects in Basin Management Action Plan 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.
- The Senate allocates $20 million to DEP for innovative water treatment projects that demonstrate the ability to most rapidly achieve department verified phosphorous and/or nitrogen load reductions consistent with the nutrient load reduction goals and total maximum daily loads established by the department. The department may also provide cost-share funding for innovative nutrient removal projects.
- Harmful Algal Blooms: The House allocates $10 million and the Senate allocates $5.6 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. Funds may also be used to implement water quality treatment technologies, identified by the department, near water control structures in Lake Okeechobee.
- Springs Restoration: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $50 million and $75 million respectively, from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for springs restoration projects and land acquisition to protect springs.
- Alternative Water Supply: The House allocates $25 million and the Senate allocates $10 million to the water supply and water resource development grant program to help communities plan for and implement conservation, reuse and other water supply and water resource development projects.
Everglades Restoration: House $319.7 million, Senate $344.7 million.
Florida Forever: House $100 million, Senate $50 million
Florida Recreation Development Assistance Grants: House $0; Senate $2 million.
Beach Management Funding Assistance Program: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $100 million and $50 million respectively, for grants and aids to local governments and non-state entities for beach management assistance.
Resilient Coastline Initiative: The House allocates roughly $10 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. The Senate does not include this in their budget proposal.
Resilient Florida Trust Fund and Program: The House and Senate allocate roughly $29 million from the Resilient Florida Trust Fund contingent upon HB 5401/SB 2512, HB 7019/SB 1954, and HB 7021/SB 2514, or similar legislation, becoming law. The bills create the Resilient Florida Grant Program within DEP to provide $111 million in grant funding to local governments to fund resiliency planning. Funding will support vulnerability assessments and mitigation plans to prepare for the threats of flooding and sea level rises. First-year funding will establish the program and provide for $20 million in grant funding.
Mosquito control programs: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $2.7 million.
Transportation & Economic Development
- State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $99.1 million respectively for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP).
- The House swept $273.49 million from this trust fund to the General Revenue Fund; the Senate swept $254.4 million.
- State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL): The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $42 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL).
- The House swept $25 million from this trust fund to the General Revenue Fund; the Senate swept $38.6 million.
- The total amount of housing trust fund sweeps by the House was $298.49 million and by the Senate was $293 million.
Job Growth Grant Fund: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $0 and $26 million respectively.
Visit Florida: $50 million recommended by both the House and Senate, which would match funding from the proposed Governor’s Budget.
Small County Outreach Program (SCOP): The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $88.8 million.
Small County Road Assistance Program (SCRAP): The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $38.2 million.
Rural Economic Development:
- Rural Infrastructure Fund: $5 million to support local rural infrastructure projects such as broadband, roads, storm and wastewater systems, and telecommunications facilities in both the House and Senate budgets. The House budget specifies eligible uses of these funds include roads or other remedies to transportation impediments; storm water systems; water or wastewater facilities; and telecommunications facilities and broadband facilities.
- Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Program: The House and Senate allocate $1.17 million to provide local governments with access to financial assistance to further promote the economic viability of Florida's rural communities.
- Broadband Feasibility Study: The Senate allocates $1.4 million for Department of Economic Opportunity to conduct a broadband feasibility study, including the connectivity gap, and to develop a strategic plan.
Library Grants and Library Cooperatives: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $26 million and $21.5 million respectively.
Fiscally Constrained County Funding: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $31.1 million to offset the impacts of previously approved constitutional amendments.
Emergency Distributions: The House and Senate proposed budgets allocate $25.1 million for emergency distribution revenue sharing for small counties.
HOUSE ALLOCATION OF AMERICAN RESCUE ACT FUNDS
As discussed in the General Overview section, the House proposal includes an allocation of $7.912 billion in American Rescue Act funds in section 98 in the back of the budget, contingent upon the receipt of the federal funds. These funds are allocated as follows and are in addition to any amounts otherwise appropriated for these purposes in the House GAA:
Beach Management Funding Assistance Program
Coastal Mapping Services
Derelict Vessel Removal Program
Reemployment Assistance Program Staffing
Reemployment Assistance System Modernization
Workforce Information System
State Housing TF and Local Government Housing TF
Resilient Florida TF
Water Protection and Sustainability Program TF
Inland Protection TF
State Transportation TF
Emergency Preparedness and Response fund
Budget Stabilization Fund
Deferred Building Maintenance Program
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:
Juvenile Detention Costs - Implementing Bill
Both the Senate Implementing bill, SB 2502, and the House Implementing bill, HB 5003 provide in section 26 that the Department of Juvenile Justice is required to review county juvenile detention payments to ensure that counties fulfill their financial responsibilities required in s. 985.6865, Florida Statutes. If the Department of Juvenile Justice determines that a county has not met its obligations, the department shall direct the Department of Revenue to deduct the amount owed to the Department of Juvenile Justice from the funds provided to the county under s. 218.23, Florida Statutes. The Department of Revenue shall transfer the funds withheld to the Shared County/State Juvenile Detention Trust Fund.
Affordable Housing, Resilient Florida, and Water Protection Distributions from Documentary Stamp Tax Pass Both Chambers
Two House and Senate conforming bills, SB 2512 and HB 5401-Documentary Stamp Tax Distributions, revise the distributions from the Documentary Stamp Tax that are deposited into the Local Government Housing Trust Fund and State Housing Trust Fund, the Water Protection and Sustainability Trust Fund, and Resilient Florida Trust Fund. Under current law, $423.2 M is distributed into the two housing trust funds, while under the conforming bills, the two housing trust funds will receive $200 M combined, and the two new trust funds will each receive $111.7 M. Other distributions from Documentary Stamp Tax were not affected. The bill also specified that the Local Government Housing Trust Fund and the State Housing Trust Fund revenues may not be swept to the General Revenue Fund in the General Appropriations Act in future years. SB 2512 passed the Senate Wednesday, April 7 by a vote of 25-14. On Thursday, April 8, the House substituted SB 2512 for HB 5401 and passed the bill by a vote of 78-38. The bill has been enrolled and is ready to be sent to the Governor.
FRS Contribution Rates
The House and Senate recommended the following employer contribution rates for the Florida Retirment System (FRS) in their respective conforming bills, SB 7018- Employer Contributions to Fund Retiree Benefits and HB 5007- State-administered Retirement Systems. The Senate bill also revises the employer contribution for the retiree health insurance subsidy for members of the Senior Management Service Class from 1.66% to 1.50%. The Senate bill passed unanimously Wednesday, April 7. The House substituted the Senate bill for HB 5007 and then amended the substance of HB 5007 onto the Senate bill, which passed the House 118-0. The bill is in returning messages to the Senate and is primed for budget conference.
Employer normal contribution rates for each membership class of FRS (Defined Benefit and Defined Investment) are amended as follows:
To address unfunded actuarial liabilities (UAL) of the system, the bill amends the current 2020 employer contribution rates for each membership class of FRS as follows: