Florida’s budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year of $117 billion is about $5 billion more than last year and roughly 27% percent larger than the state’s spending plan just three years ago.
Those were among the facts that Ralph Lair, intergovernmental affairs officer for Pasco County, and Shawn Foster, the county’s lobbyist from Sunrise Consulting, reported during the Pasco County Commission’s June 20 meeting.
The two men provided an overview of highlights from this year’s legislative session.
Lair told the board the budget includes about $46.5 billion in general revenue funding and more than $70 billion in trust fund spending, which is mostly earmarked for specific needs.
“The Legislature was able to set aside more than $11 billion that will be held back for future needs for the state,” Lair said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the budget on June 15 and it took effect on July 1.
Foster told the county board: “You know, every session we go up there, we’re like: ‘This is the toughest year we’ve ever seen on local governments. It can’t be as bad as last year.’”
Foster told the board that of the state’s budget, about $41 billion is pass-through money from the federal government.
“We have had extra pass-through federal dollars since COVID. Those will stop in the next years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the extra funds have “very much helped our reserves.
“In 2019, we only had $4 billion in reserves. We only had enough to last less than 14 days.
“Today, because of the reserves the governor and the Legislature have done, we’ve moved into $33 billion. We’re higher than other states have around the nation, and we’re in a very good position.”
Now, the state has enough in reserves to operate for roughly 36 days, Foster said.
“For us to put away the dollars we have the past two years has been phenomenal. We’ve been very, very responsible,” Foster said.
Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said that’s impressive, “especially on the heels of a hurricane that we had.”
During the session, 1,873 bills were filed and 356 bills passed, Lair said
“We had a really, really smooth session. The two houses got along really well. They were able to compromise and both come out, as they felt, as winners,” Foster said.
“I think the governor, as you saw, pretty much got all that he wanted,” Foster added.
The budget includes $2.7 billion in tax relief and $4 billion for moving forward initiatives that will accelerate the completion of 20 transportation projects around the state.
Published July 12, 2023