- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday released a nearly $79.3 billion proposed budget for 2016-17 that is roughly 1 percent larger than this year’s budget. Here’s a few key items you should know about:

- EDUCATION: Scott has proposed raising public school spending by $507 million, which translates into a nearly 2.6 percent increase. The per-pupil spending amount would be $7,220.59. That’s the highest dollar amount ever, but it falls below previous years after it is adjusted for inflation.

- PROPERTY TAXES: The governor’s increased money for public schools, as it did last year, relies on a rise in property values that is expected to generate nearly $427 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, but he is recommending performance bonuses that could be worth up to $1,500 for each employee. He is also proposing a raise for crime lab analysts.

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

- PRISONS: The budget proposal calls for an $82 million increase for the Department of Corrections. The money would be used to hire 472 correctional officers, reopen some facilities and spend $36 million on repair and renovations to prisons.

- ENVIRONMENT: Scott has proposed $151 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 $63 million for land acquisition program. He also has proposed $8.5 million for citrus greening research and $230,000 to try to reduce conflicts between bears and humans.

- HEALTH INSURANCE: Scott recommends for the sixth 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 nearly 900 jobs. Scott is also not replacing federal money that Florida hospitals are losing as a result of changes to the state’s Low Income Pool program.

- TAXES: Scott is recommending several different tax cuts that would total nearly $600 million in the first year but which would eventually total up to roughly $1 billion. Most of these tax cuts would be targeted toward businesses, including eliminating corporate income taxes for manufacturers and retailers. Scott is also proposing to keep intact a sales tax exemption on college textbooks. He is also proposing a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday and a 9-day sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies

- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The governor wants to create a $250 million “Florida Enterprise Fund” that would be used to lure new businesses to the state. He also wants $80 million for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide