TOP TAXWATCH ISSUES: BUDGET TURKEYS PUBLIC PENSIONS TOURISM TELEHEALTH
Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2017-18 state budget, which goes into effect July 1, 2017.
The 2017 Florida Legislature passed an $82.418 billion General Appropriations Act, already the largest in the state’s history. But this is not all the money appropriated this year.
Every session, the Legislature makes a relatively small amount of appropriations in other bills, including funding for agencies to implement new programs authorized by the legislation. This session, the Legislature took this to a new level, passing 23 bills with nearly $2.5 billion in additional appropriations.
In addition, the Governor called the Legislature back in Special Session to increase funding for education, economic development, and tourism marketing. Lawmakers did that and more, passing three bills containing an additional $517 million.
After deducting the Governor’s vetoes, the net result is FY2017-18 appropriations totaling $85.158 billion, a $2.9 billion (3.5%) increase over the current year.
In addition to many facts and figures explaining this year’s budget, past data are also provided to put it in historical context. The data have also been adjusted to reflect the Governor’s vetoes and appropriations made in other bills.
We hope this annual budget pocket guide gives you the information you need to better understand where and how your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.
Florida Education Finance Program – The FEFP will provide $20.642 billion to school districts, the largest amount in history. This includes $8.969 billion in local funding.
Per-Student Funding of $7,296 is an increase of $100 per student (1.4%). After the Legislature funded an increase of only $25 per student, the Governor vetoed the FEFP and $215.1 million was added in Special Session.
Early Learning – $1.061 billion, a small increase. Funding includes $608.4 million for the school readiness program and $386.8 million for the Voluntary Pre-K program.
State Colleges – $1.216 billion – a $24 million (1.9% ) decrease. The Legislature says it cut $30.2 million due to decreased enrollment. Funding includes $60 million in performance funding.
State Universities – $4.943 billion – a $200 million (4.3%) increase for universities, including $520 million in performance funding. There is also $52 million in funding for Preeminent and Emerging Preeminent Universities and $50 million for the World Class Faculty and Scholar Program.
Tuition – no tuition increase.
“Schools of Hope” – A controversial, mammoth education bill (HB 7069) included $140 million to attract successful charter schools to areas served by persistently low-performing traditional public schools.
Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Scholarship Program – HB 7069 also provides $234 million to reward effective teachers and principals.
Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) – $476.5 million, including $140.9 million in General Revenue. This includes:
$183.7 million for maintenance:
and $201.2 million for construction projects, including:
Governor Vetoes – Nearly half of the funds for local projects vetoed were in the Education budget, including more than 200 projects worth $194.6 million, including 12 college and university construction projects worth $71.5 million. The Legislature restored $60 million of the vetoes in Special Session.
Medicaid – $26.8 billion, a $1.1 billion increase over the base budget. Includes $568.1 million to fund price and caseload increases. Hospital reimbursements were cut by $520.1 million. Reimbursement rates for pediatric cardiology, portable x-ray, and developmentally disabled services were increased ($5.2 million).
Low Income Pool – The continuation of this federal/state program to help reimburse providers for charity care was in doubt but it was announced during session that the federal government had tentatively agreed to continue it. A separate bill (SB 2514) provides $1.5 billion for LIP. Details on its distribution are still being worked out.
Long Term Care – $5.0 million to fund 769 more slots in the Home Care for the Elderly and Community Care for the Elderly programs.
Alzheimer’s Disease – $3.0 million to reduce the waitlist by 249 individuals for Alzheimer’s respite services. There is also $5 million for Alzheimer’s research.
Maintenance Adoption Subsidies – A $6.3 million increase for 3,000 new adoptions.
Children and Families – 75 new positions were funded ($5.6 million) to address workload at mental health treatment facilities and child care regulation. An additional $32.5 million is provided for the Community-based Care Lead Agencies.
Medical Marijuana – In Special Session, HB 8 was passed to implement the constitutional amendment approved by voters. It provides $15.1 million and 55 new positions at the Dept. of Health for implementation, an education and prevention campaign, cannabis research, an impaired driving campaign, and law enforcement training.
Persons with Disabilities – $3.7 million will serve an additional 341 persons on the Home and Community Based Services waitlist.
Veterans’ Nursing Homes – $38.7 million to complete construction of the 7th home and $5.7 million to retrofit a Navy health facility to be the 8th state veterans nursing home.
Public Assistance Eligibility Determination System – $27.5 million to enhance the system used to process eligibility for Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF.
Governor’s Vetoes – 36 items worth $17.2 million, including numerous local member projects and private facility construction projects.
Corrections – Funding increases for health costs ($18.0 million), a new residential mental health facility ($14.4 million), maintenance and repair ($6.5 million) and inmate workforce education ($1.0 million) were partially offset by reductions due to 1,575 fewer inmates ($18.3 million), lower debt service ($1.5 million), and base budget projects that were cut ($1.0 million).
Juvenile Justice –$10.5 million is provided to increase residential capacity and services. Funding of $78.5 million for the delinquency prevention and diversion program is a slight decrease, but $2.8 million was provided for additional for PACE Center for Girls slots.
Law Enforcement – $5.9 million and 46 positions are provided to enhance counterterrorism resources. $1.2 million and 5 positions are provided to continue to reduce the backlog of unprocessed sexual assault kits. Nine positions and $653,000 are provided to enhance missing children investigations.
Justice Administration – An additional $2.0 million is provided for increased due process funding for death penalty cases and Regional Conflict Counsel workload. 153.5 positions were eliminated in state attorney and public defender offices.
Clerks of the Court – $7.0 million was provided to address the clerks’ current year deficit and an additional $10.4 million in recurring general revenue will be redirected to the clerks.
Court System – Total funding was decreased by 2.3%, and 39 positions were cut in circuit courts.
Children’s Advocacy Centers - $3.9 million is provided for centers throughout Florida; however, any reduction in local funding will result in a loss of the same amount of state funds.
Drug and Veterans Courts - $5.3 million in treatment services for drug courts in 10 counties, and $2.2 million ($800,000 increase) for veterans’ courts in 15 counties.
Courthouse Construction - $3.4 million for courthouses in the 3rd DCA, and $120,000 for emergency repairs to the Liberty County Courthouse.
Everglades Restoration – $135.7 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and $77.5 million for other restoration projects.
Lake Okeechobee Water Storage – In addition to the above funding, SB 10 provides $64 million for two projects south of the Lake, including the new Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir project. The bill also commits $64 million annually, beginning next year, for the EAA reservoir and authorizes $800 million in bonds for the projects.
Springs Restoration – $50 million in recurring revenue is devoted to springs protection.
Local Water Projects – $55.6 million for nearly 100 local water projects, including stormwater, sewer, water treatment, restoration projects, and water supply projects. The Governor vetoed 31 of these projects worth $15.4 million.
Beach Restoration – $63.3 million, nearly double last year’s funding. Includes $13.3 million for hurricane recovery projects.
Petroleum Tanks Cleanup Program – $115 million, a $1 million increase from last year.
Drinking Water and Wastewater Revolving Loan Programs – $240.3 million is provided for financial assistance to local governments for the construction of drinking and waste water systems.
State Parks – $25.6 million for state park facility improvements.
Local Parks – No funding was provided for the Florida Recreational Development Assistance Program (currently funded at $7.4 million). Instead, the Legislature funded six member park projects worth $3.7 million. One project was vetoed.
Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services – $12.8 million in cuts to the recurring base budget were made, including a $1.3 million reduction for Agriculture Promotion.
Citrus Greening – $19.4 million for citrus health, including $8 million for research and $7.1 million for the citrus health response program.
Citrus Canker Eradication Claims – The Governor vetoed $37.4 million the Legislature had provided to settle claims by homeowners for citrus trees lost in the state’s canker eradication efforts. The issue is still in court.
Fish & Wildlife Commission Cuts – The base budget was cut by $11.1 million, including $3 million for invasive plant control.
Local Boating Infrastructure – $5.7 million to local governments for boating access projects.
Transportation – The $9.8 billion DOT Work Program includes:
Economic Development – VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida—which the House sought to eliminate—were funded in a separate bill at $25 million and $16 million, respectively— significant cuts from current spending. In Special Session, VISIT FLORIDA Funding was increased to $76 million and $85 million was appropriated for the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.
State Employee Pay Raises – $183.1 million is provided to give all state employees a pay raise. Those making less than $40,000 get a $1,400 increase, the others get $1,000. Other targeted increases are provided for state law enforcement, judges, state attorneys, public defenders, and others.
FLAIR Replacement – $24.9 million and 26 new positions to continue the replacement of the Florida Accounting Information Resource System with the Planning, Accounting and Ledger Management (PALM) system.
State Facilities – $31.0 million to address the $369.0 million backlog of repairs and other needed improvements to state facilities.
Note: Aid to Local Governments includes the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) and both local operations and local fixed capital outlay.
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Kurt Wenner, Vice President of Research. Kurt has authored all of the major tax publications produced by Florida TaxWatch, including pieces on Florida’s Intangibles Tax, and general sales, property, and business tax issues.
See Kurt's full bio
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