- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday released a nearly $83.5 billion proposed budget for 2016-17 that is more than 1 percent larger than this year’s budget. Here’s a few key items you should know about:

- EDUCATION: Scott wants to increase spending on public schools by $815 million, which translates into a 4 percent increase for each student. Scott is also proposing the elimination of the contentious “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus program. Instead, Scott wants to spend $58 million on several recruitment and retention programs, including one that gives scholarships to teachers who teach in rural districts.

- PROPERTY TAXES: The governor’s increased money for public schools relies on a rise in property values that is expected to generate nearly $558 million in additional local property taxes. Schools in Florida are paid through a combination of state and local money. House leaders say they will oppose Scott’s proposal.

- 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 recommending a five percent pay raise for the state’s highway patrol troopers, wildlife officers and state law enforcement agents. Scott also is recommending pay raises and bonuses to correctional officers and probation officers.

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

- PRISONS: The budget proposal calls for a nearly $127 million increase for the Department of Corrections. The money would be used for pay raises, the hiring of additional of correctional officers, as well as money to create a special mental health unit at a prison in Wakulla County.

- ENVIRONMENT: Scott has proposed $60 million to help homeowners switch from septic tanks to sewer systems to reduce water pollution in areas that have suffered massive algae blooms. His budget also includes money for Everglades restoration, $65 million for springs restoration, and money to help restore beaches.

- HEALTH INSURANCE: Scott recommends for the seventh 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.

- COUNTERTERRORISM - Responding to the Pulse nightclub shooting, Scott wants legislators to set aside nearly $6 million to hire 46 agents who will be stationed in seven regions across the state.

- TAXES: Scott is recommending several different tax cuts. The biggest part of his $618 million tax cut package would be a cut in the sales tax rate charged on commercial leases. The governor is also proposing a one-year sales tax exemption on college textbooks and several tax holidays, including a 10-day back-to-school holiday where residents would not have to pay sales taxes on clothes and school supplies.

- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The governor wants $85 million for economic incentives that would be used to lure new businesses to the state. He also wants $76 million for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has already said he is opposed to these requests.

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