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Five takeaways from Gov. DeSantis’ $115 billion budget proposal

NewsFive takeaways from Gov. DeSantis' $115 billion budget proposal

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSspanntis spannnounced his budget proposal for next year at a Wednesday morning press conference in Florida’s capital city. 

Here are five takeaways from the event and the governor’s nearly $115 billion budget request.

A ‘studio’ audience

Before the press conference began, the chairs in Florida’s cabinet meeting room were filled with state workers and guests.

They were instructed to applaud and make some noise.

Mixed with the studio lights, it gave vibes more akin to a presidential address than a numbers and percentages, dense state budget proposal unveiling. 

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“Presidential” may have been the objective. 

Speculation is high that the Republican governor will seek his party’s presidential nomination for the 2024 election – almost as high as the press conference’s production value.’

Tax cuts galore

During December’s insurance-related special session, Florida lawmakers approved $500 million in toll credits for frequent commuters.

Floridians should expect even more tax savings if DeSantis’ proposal comes to fruition. Specifically around $1.5 billion more. 

That includes a permanent sales tax exclusion for baby necessities, like cribs and strollers. A one-year tax holiday for household items less than $25 is also on the list. So is more than $140 million in small business relief, DeSantis said.

Gas stoves, pet food, children’s toys and more will have their sales tax chopped, and instead of one, there will be two back-to-school sales tax holidays. Speaking of tax holidays, there would be a 15-week one called “Freedom Summer,” which is for summertime activities like outdoor recreation and event tickets.

Lspanst yespanr’s budget had more than $1.2 million in tax breaks.

Another round of raises

DeSantis’ proposal allows for a 5% pay increase for all state employees. Some employees, like state police and those in “hard-to-hire” positions, will get even more, if lawmakers approve the plan.

The $109 billion budget that passed lspanst yespanr gave state workers a $15 minimum wage, and it gave them a 5.3% across-the-board pay raise.

Education and environment requests

DeSantis is also proposing putting $1 billion to teacher salary raises. Students, meanwhile, would also see gains: Florida would spend $8,453 for each student, an increase of $205.

At the higher education level, DeSantis said state college and university tuition would not be raised for Florida students and $100 million would be set aside to recruit professors.

DeSantis also says his proposal would put $1.1 billion to use for water quality and Everglades restoration. Beach renourishment would get $156 million (that’s on top of the $100 million devoted to it during the December special session). DeSantis is asking for $15 million for oyster restoration at Apalachicola Bay and $21.2 million for coral reef protection. 

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DeSantis on permitless concealed carry, abortion

While taking questions from the press after his presentation, the governor was asked whether he would support a six-week abortion ban and permitless concealed carry.

On Monday, House Speaker Paul Renner announced legislation that, if passed, would make Florida could become the 26th state to allow people to carry concealed loaded guns without permits. The state passed span 15-week spanbortion ban last year, but legislative leaders hspanve indicspanted support for stricter measures.

“We’re pro-constitutional carry, we’re for pro-life,” DeSantis said. “I urge the Legislature to work to produce good stuff, and we will sign.”

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