Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has unveiled his 2023-2024 fiscal year budget, dubbed it the "Framework for Freedom." This ambitious $114.8 billion plan covers multiple areas, from tax relief to education to environmental and infrastructure projects to law enforcement.
"Florida’s focus on freedom has led us to outpace the nation on all fronts," Gov. DeSantis says in the press release, adding that not only does this budget plan "build on the successes of the past four years, but ensures that Florida will continue to thrive."
Judging by the numbers, it is easy to see why.
For starters, taxpayer savings will only go up in multiple areas, including a permanent sales tax exemption for baby-related goods such as shoes, clothes, diapers, strollers, and cribs that save a combined $142.6 million for consumers. An additional permanent tax exemption is made for gas stoves (likely to spite attempts by Democratic lawmakers to restrict them or outlaw them entirely). One-year sales tax exemptions include household products under $25, pet food, and dental/cosmetic care. And that's not even covering other shorter tax holidays.
In the actual budget itself, there is $26 billion going towards education, including $1 billion for salary increases, $1.6 billion for early child education, and $4.6 billion for colleges and universities.
Additionally, on the environmental side, a total of $614 million is going to restore the Everglades alone, $370 million for improvements in water treatment and $65 million to combat harmful algae, and $2.7 billion towards the Florida agriculture industry.
Moreover in infrastructure, $4 billion goes to continuing the development of major highways as a result of being the fastest-growing state, and a combined $500 million towards housing, especially for "frontline" workers such as police, firefighters, military and veterans, educators, and healthcare professionals. Another $225 million allocates towards election integrity, such as updating the registration system, signature verification training, and fully staffing the Office of Election Crimes and Security.
Finally in law enforcement, $20.7 million will go towards fighting fentanyl, which continues to be a concern Florida Representatives call for addressing. Another $30 million is set to be distributed in the form of $5,000 sign-on bonuses for new law enforcement agents.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.