- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday unveiled a nearly $77 billion proposed budget. Here’s a few key items you should know about:

EDUCATION: Scott has proposed raising public school spending by $842 million, which translates into a nearly 4 percent increase. The per-pupil spending amount would be $7,176 or the highest level ever (although that figure is not adjusted for inflation.)

PROPERTY TAXES: The increased money for public schools, however, relies on a rise in property values that is expected to generate nearly $452 million in additional local property taxes. Schools in Florida are paid through a combination of state and local money.

PAY RAISES: Scott is not recommending any across-the-board pay raises for state workers.

TUITION: The governor wants to keep college and university tuition at its current levels.

PRISONS: The budget proposal calls for a $51.2 million increase for the Department of Corrections. The money would be used to fill critical vacancies and upgrades to existing prisons.

ENVIRONMENT: Scott has proposed $150 million for Everglades restoration, $25 million for beach restoration, and $50 million to help restore and improve water quality at the state’s freshwater springs. The budget also includes $150 million for the state’s land acquisition program.

HEALTH INSURANCE: Scott recommends for the fifth year in a row that he and other top state officials pay the same for health insurance as rank-and-file state workers. Scott currently pays less than $400 a year for family coverage. Legislators have rejected this proposal previously.

BUDGET CUTS: Scott is recommending cuts in several areas, including the elimination of more than 1,300 jobs, although many are vacant. Scott does recommend outsourcing custodial services, which would lead to the elimination of roughly 50 positions.

TAXES: Scott does not recommend any tax hikes to pay for his budget. He is recommending nearly $700 million in tax and fee cuts, including a cut in taxes charged on communications services such as cable television and cellphones. Another proposal is to exempt college textbooks from sales taxes. He is also proposing a back-to-school sales tax holiday and a small cut in the corporate income tax.

BUDGET TOTAL: The governor’s proposed budget is nearly $77 billion, or a decrease of 0.1 percent from last year.

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