TOP TAXWATCH ISSUES: BUDGET TURKEYS PUBLIC PENSIONS TOURISM TELEHEALTH
Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2018-19 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2018.
The 2018 Florida Legislature passed a $88.727 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 appropriations in other bills, including funding for agencies to implement new programs authorized by the legislation.
This session, the Legislature appropriated more than $600 million in other bills. This funding includes a $400 million school safety bill in the wake of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting and $123.5 million to increase higher education financial aid, including an expansion of Bright Futures Scholarships.
Legislators also got plenty of projects for their districts. This year’s budget contains 517 member projects worth more than $560 million, a surprising amount given that this was pronounced “a tight budget year.” In the two sessions since the new rules for member projects were adopted (with the goals of increased accountability and limiting projects), there has been a total of more than 1,200 member projects worth $1.2 billion funded in the state budget.
After deducting the Governor’s vetoes, the net result is FY2018-19 appropriations totaling $89.313 billion, a $4.360 billion (5.1 percent) 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 from other bills.
We hope this annual budget 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 will provide $21.097 billion to school districts, an increase of 2.35 percent, including $9.170 billion in local funding.
Per-Student Funding of $7,408 is an increase of $101.50 per student (1.39 percent). There will be almost 27,000 more students in public schools.
School Safety – In response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Legislature passed a bill providing $400 million in safety funding, most going to education for school hardening, safety, mental health, the guardian program, and replacing the building at Douglas High.
Early Learning is funded at nearly $1.1 billion, a 2.64 percent increase. Funding includes $630.9 million for the school readiness program and $398.4 million for the Voluntary Pre-K program.
State Colleges receive $1.228 billion, a $12 million (1.0 percent) decrease. Funding includes $60 million in performance funding. A bill making major changes to the college system and providing $101 million did not pass.
State Universities receive $5.187 billion, a $244 million (4.94 percent) increase, including $123 million in a separate bill to increase funding for Bright Futures and other scholarships. There is also $560 million in performance funding. The Preeminent and Emerging Preeminent Universities and World Class Faculty and Scholar Programs received $20 million each.
Tuition – no tuition increase.
“Schools of Hope” – $140 million is allocated for this controversial program to attract successful charter schools to areas served by persistently low-performing traditional public schools.
The Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Scholarship Program receives $234 million to reward effective teachers and principals.
Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) receives $482.2 million, including $109.8 million in General Revenue. Among the allocations are:
$275.9 million for maintenance:
and $206.7 million for construction projects, including:
Medicaid receives $29.6 billion, including $898.9 million for price and caseload increases. Reimbursement rates were increased for Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled ($11.5 million), Pediatric Extended Care facilities ($5.1 million), Pediatric Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units ($3.5 million), Epidural services ($1.3 million), and adult hospital outpatient caps ($58.5 million).
Low Income Pool – This federal/state program to help reimburse providers for charity care is authorized at $1.5 billion, but funding is contingent on $586.8 million in contributions from local governments.
Nursing Homes receive an additional $50 million in state money, which will draw down an additional $78.5 million in federal funds for nursing homes.
Long Term Care receives $15.6 million to fund 276 more slots in the Home Care for the Elderly and Community Care for the Elderly programs and 475 slots in the PACE program in Northeast Florida and Martin, Miami-Dade, Lee, and Collier counties.
Alzheimer’s Disease research and care receives $31.9 million for the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, including $0.75 million to reduce the waitlist for respite services by 66 individuals, $5 million for Alzheimer’s research, and $3.6 million for local projects.
Maintenance Adoption Subsidies receive $7.6 million to extend eligibility to age 21.
Opioids – A separate bill has passed (HB 21) that provides $53.7 million for expenditures related to the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant; community-based services; making emergency opioid antagonists available to first responders; medication-assisted treatment for individuals in the criminal justice system; and for improvements to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Personal Needs Allowances receive $17 million to increase the allowance from $105 to $130 per month for residents in nursing homes and institutions under the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Children and Families.
Corrections funding includes $25.1 million to cover the health services deficit, $52.7 million and 289 FTEs for residential mental health treatment ($10.0 million increase), $21.7 million for Hepatitis C treatment, and $6.2 million for facility maintenance, repair, and ADA compliance.
Juvenile Justice funding of $93.2 million for the delinquency prevention and diversion program is a $14.7 million increase, and includes a $.05 million increase for the Prodigy program, and $4.5 million in additional PACE Center for Girls funding. $2 million is provided for a retention bonus for DJJ direct care workers.
Law Enforcement receives $1.1 million in school safety funding, including the Douglas High School Public Safety Commission; $2.2 million to improve the sexual offender and predator registry; and $5.7 million for the final year of Computerized Criminal History database implementation. $6.8 million in grants were provided for local law enforcement projects and capital outlay.
Justice Administration – After 153.5 positions were eliminated in state attorney and public defender offices last year, 95 FTE’s were added to Justice Administration this year. In response to an IRS audit, Regional Conflict Counsel part-time employees and contractors were converted to full time positions (65 FTEs and $2.7 million).
Legal Affairs/Attorney General receives $7.4 million for the Information Technology Modernization Project and $1.5 million to match federal grant funds for generators at Certified Domestic Violence Centers. 44 vacant positions were eliminated.
Salary Increases – Sworn state law enforcement officers received a 7% pay hike. Assistant SAs and PDs received an extra $2,000 - $4,000.
Children’s Advocacy Centers received $4.2 million ($0.3 million increase), but the funding was transferred from the Courts to the Department of Legal Affairs.
Drug and Veterans Courts receive $7.5 million in treatment services for drug courts in 10 counties and $1.4 million ($800,000 decrease) for veterans’ courts in 9 counties.
Courthouse Construction - No fixed capital outlay funding was provided for state or local courthouses.
Everglades Restoration receives $207.1 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the regional water quality plan, and the EAA Reservoir; an additional $31.0 million for Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection; and $5.0 million for dispersed water storage.
Springs Restoration receives $50 million in recurring revenue.
Local Water Projects – 52 member requested projects worth $30.9 million were funded. This is less than recent years. In the previous five budgets, the Legislature’s spending on water projects (pre-veto) has ranged from $55.6 million to $88.5 million. For the first time since 2014, none were vetoed.
Beach Restoration receives $61.2 million, including $20.5 million added to the recurring base, and $11.2 million for hurricane recovery projects.
Florida Forever receives $100.8 million ($75.8 million transfer from GR; $15 million transfer from LATF) for land acquisition.
The Petroleum Tanks Cleanup Program receives $110 million, a $5 million decrease from last year.
Drinking Water and Wastewater Revolving Loan Programs receive $303.0 million (a $62.7 million increase) for financial assistance to local governments for the construction of drinking and waste water systems.
State Parks receive $35.1 million for state park facility improvements.
The Herbert Hoover Dike sees a transfer of $50.0 million to the South Florida Water Management District to expedite repairs.
The Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services experiences $12.8 million in cuts to the recurring base budget, including a $1.3 million reduction for Agriculture Promotion.
Citrus Greening & Research receives $8 million for citrus research, $7.1 million for the Citrus Health Response program, and $2.5 million for the citrus crop decline supplemental.
Citrus Canker Eradication Claims are provided $52.1 million for payment in the final judgment for Broward County ($22.1 million) and Palm Beach County ($30.0 million).
Forestry receives $5.6 million for the replacement of critical firefighting equipment.
Local Boating Infrastructure receives $6.4 million for local governments for various boating access and maintenance and repair projects.
Transportation – The $9.839 billion DOT Work Program includes:
Local Member Projects - 58 projects worth $119.7 million bypassed the work program development process. These projects were identified in Florida TaxWatch’s Budget Turkey Watch Report and 24 projects (worth $33.4 million) were vetoed.
Economic Development saw VISIT FLORIDA funded at $76 million, the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund at $85 million, and the Economic Development Toolkit Payments at $29.1 million (no new contracts).
Affordable Housing receives $123.6 million but, once again, more money was swept from housing trust funds ($182.0 million) than was appropriated from them.
FLAIR Replacement receives $32.5 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 receive $56.3 million to address the $489.4 million backlog of repairs and other needed improvements to state facilities.
Fiscally Constrained Counties receive $28.6 million to offset property taxes lost due to constitutional amendments approved in 2008.
Emergency Management funding includes $1.8 billion in federal disaster aid. This is the reason for the large increase in funding for the Governor’s Office.
Note: Aid to Local Governments includes the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) and both local operations and local fixed capital outlay.
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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