GOVERNOR CRIST UNVEILS $69.2-BILLION BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 2010-11
Focuses on strengthening economy and tax relief, preparing future workforce and protecting vulnerable Floridians
GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today outlined his proposed $69.2-billion budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2010-11. The measures unveiled today conclude a weeklong series of announcements highlighting the Governor’s economic, education and environmental proposals. Governor Crist’s budget recommendations emphasize his continued commitment to creating jobs and economic opportunities, developing the talent of Florida’s students and workforce, protecting Florida’s families, and being stewards of the state’s natural resources.
“As Florida rebounds from economic challenges being faced throughout the country, I am confident that the budget I am recommending will help strengthen businesses big and small, create job opportunities for Floridians in all areas of the state, establish a greater foundation for education in our schools and colleges, and secure a cleaner and safer environment that will endure for generations to come,” said Governor Crist. “This budget is an investment in Florida’s families and ensures a bright and prosperous future for our state.”
The Governor’s budget recommendations feature a strong commitment to providing families and businesses the tools they need to thrive in a growing economy, including $100 million in tax relief for families and businesses to help create jobs and economic opportunities. The recommended budget also includes an increase in Pre-K-12 education funding of more than $535.5 million over the current fiscal year, and a $100-million increase to state universities to build research and education capacity in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM). In addition, the proposed budget revives Florida Forever by recommending $50 million to continue the preservation of Florida’s unique natural resources and wildlife.
Additional highlights of the Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget recommendations include the following:
Governor Crist recommended a $9.7-billion investment in economic development, which includes infrastructure, workforce development and incentives for small businesses. To further strengthen the state’s innovation economy and ensure a competitive business climate, the Governor’s recommendations include a $307.5-million economic development incentive proposal. Highlights include:
• Technical Assistance to Small Businesses – $6.8 million to help local communities create their own Economic Gardening programs tailored to regional needs and to invest in existing small business assistance groups that help entrepreneurs and small businesses.
• Space Florida – $32.6 million in response to the federal policy decision to end the space shuttle program and to initiate new human space exploration missions beyond earth’s orbit.
• Innovation Incentive Program – $100 million to attract leading research institutes and companies that have expanded innovation-based economic activity, both in their own right and through spin-off generation.
• Quick Action Closing Fund – $25 million to recruit and retain industries and high-wage jobs.
• Film and Entertainment – $15 million to demonstrate Florida’s strong commitment to retaining and growing its highly valued film and entertainment industry.
• Defense/Rural/Transportation Infrastructure Projects – $40.5 million to support defense, rural and transportation infrastructure needs.
• Workforce – $339.3 million to develop Florida’s talent pool and build a pathway to economic prosperity.
• Transportation – $5.8 billion investment in the development of a 21st Century infrastructure to connect Florida’s industries and people to the global economy.
In addition, the Governor recommended the following tax relief proposals:
• Corporate Income Tax Rate Cut – A one-percent reduction in the corporate income tax rate, from 5.5 to 4.5 percent, on the first $1 million of a corporation’s taxable income, helping save businesses an estimated $57.4 million.
• 10-Day Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday – Anticipated to save Florida families $52.1 million in sales taxes.
• Delayed Unemployment Compensation Tax Increase – Changes going into effect January 1, 2010, increase the minimum rate from $8.40 to more than $100 for each employee. The Governor recommends the Florida Legislature pass legislation early in the upcoming Session to delay this increase and provide relief to Florida businesses.
Governor Crist’s proposed budget for Pre-K-12 education recommends a record $22.7 billion to continue learning gains achieved by Florida’s students during recent years. In addition, the Governor recommended $7.1 billion for higher education, including a $100-million increase to state universities to build research and education capacity in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM). The Governor also recommended a $67-million increase for Florida’s 28 public colleges to meet rising enrollment without increasing tuition. To continue Florida’s decade of educational progress, further education funding recommendations include:
• Per-Student Funding – A $179 increase per student, for an average of $7,045 per student for the 2.6 million K-12 students expected during the 2010-11 school year.
• Voluntary Prekindergarten Program – $411.9 million to provide high quality early learning to eligible four-year-olds.
• State University System – $3.6 billion including $5 million for state university research commercialization grants.
• Community Colleges – $2 billion including $9.5 million to maintain bachelor’s degree programs offered by colleges within the Florida College System.
Governor Crist recommended $2.1-billion to safeguard Florida’s natural resources. His proposals will help secure Florida’s economic future through investments in the Florida Forever land conservation program, renewable energy, water supply, Everglades restoration, and state park improvements. Additional highlights of these environmental recommendations include:
• Green Energy Technologies – $10 million for solar energy rebates, in addition to $176 million in federal funding received in Fiscal Year 2009-10.
• Everglades Restoration – $50 million to ensure that the Everglades projects will continue to restore a more natural water flow for this unique ecosystem and improve water quality and water supplies for all of South Florida.
• Florida Forever – $50 million for acquisition of conservation lands in order to continue the preservation of Florida’s unique natural resources and wildlife.
• Sustainable Water Resources – $167.6 million in matching funds for wastewater and drinking water revolving-loan programs and alternative water supply projects, as well as $6 million for water quality programs vital to the preservation of Florida’s springs, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
• Protection of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife – $283.4 million to ensure continued protection of wildlife species, their habitats and economically important recreational activities through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
• Agricultural Production – $319.5 million to ensure continued production, conservation and protection of Florida’s vibrant agricultural industry and to protect the interest of Florida consumers.
For a summary of Governor Crist’s environmental recommendations, click here.
Governor Crist continues to focus on supporting families and protecting the best interests of Floridians, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, including Florida’s children, elderly, and disabled populations. Governor Crist recommended action to ensure critical services such as substance abuse and mental health services and domestic violence support services, which are vital in these difficult times, are preserved. Governor Crist’s health and human services budget recommendations include:
• Medicaid – $2.7 billion in additional funding to cover costs associated with increased enrollment and utilization of medical services for low-income families with children, as well as elderly and disabled individuals.
• Medically Needy Program – $402.7 million in nonrecurring funding to continue the Medically Needy program through June 30, 2011, for qualified individuals who have extremely high medical expenses in relation to their income.
• KidCare – $50.5 million in additional funding for the KidCare program to cover costs associated with increases in the enrollment and utilization of medical services for children.
• Mental Health and Substance Abuse – $31.3 million is provided to fund mental health and substance abuse services.
• Maintenance Adoption Subsidy – $25.8 million, including $9.1 million to provide subsidies to 3,000 additional families, so children with special needs can be adopted by loving families.
• Domestic Violence Shelters – $4.9 million, including $1.5 million for maintenance and repairs to existing shelter facilities.
Governor Crist believes the safety and security of the people of Florida is government’s chief responsibility. To honor that commitment, he recommended $5.2 billion for Florida’s public safety budget. To ensure Florida remains vigilant in keeping residents and visitors safe, the Governor has proposed the following:
• DNA Equipment Expansion – $1.2 million to automate and expand the DNA collection and submission equipment system, building on legislation Governor Crist signed last year to expand DNA collection over 10 years.
• Background Checks of Caregivers – $378,675 to guarantee all Guardian ad Litem program staff and volunteers undergo a national background check, in addition to the required state background check.
• Juvenile Justice Programs – $608.4 million to fund successful juvenile justice programs, including $1.6 million to continue the expansion of the Redirection Program. The drop in the juvenile crime rate also allows for a reduction of $9.5 million by closing three underutilized detention centers and incorporating other efficiencies.
• Judicial Inquiry System Enhancements – $3.7 million and three full-time positions to enhance the Judicial Inquiry System (JIS), helping alert court personnel when a defendant with an active arrest warrant is on the arraignment calendar.
• Agency Facility Preservation – $6 million to the Department of Corrections and $2.5 million to the Department of Juvenile Justice for the upkeep of state-owned and operated prisons and juvenile justice facilities.
Recognizing that Florida’s crime rate continues to decline and prison admissions are slowing, the Governor proposed a major cost savings by not investing in new correctional facilities for Fiscal Year 2010-11.
For additional details on the Governor’s recommended Fiscal Year 2010-11budget, visit www.MyFlorida.com and click on “The People’s Budget,” or visit www.ThePeoplesBudget.state.fl.us.