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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Florida leaders will spend $117.5B in the upcoming fiscal year

2024 FAMU Day at the Capitol
Adrian Andrews
/
WFSU
2024 FAMU Day at the Capitol

Florida’s annual legislative session is set to end on time Friday now that the legislature has released the final details of its $117.5 billion spending plan.

Florida’s annual legislative session is set to end on time Friday now that the legislature has released the final details of its $117.5 billion spending plan.

The budget includes more than $700 million for Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s plan to expand access to healthcare by increasing the number of providers. What that proposal does not include is any expansion of the state’s Medicaid program for low-income Floridians, which has long been off the table by state Republicans, a stance Passidomo reiterated to reporters.

“I’ve been saying this all along, we don’t have enough personnel to deliver to all the Floridians living in our state now. Expanding Medicaid does nothing. Whether you have insurance or don’t have insurance, we just don’t have enough," she said.

The spending plan also includes 3% pay raises for state employees and some private corrections officers, and a last-minute ask by Gov. Ron DeSantis to provide $450 million in toll relief for frequent users.

“It is a big ask, and you know, it’s a drive directly to the consumer in toll relief," said House Budget Chairman Tom Leek. "It was warranted and the question was where was it going to come from and I think that all gets resolved in the tax package.”

The state is also putting another $200 million toward pay raises for teachers, though that money will be negotiated between local teacher's unions and their school districts. The state is also upping the money for its universal school voucher program, and giving all 12 public universities an extra $30 million each toward their operational expenses, though New College of Florida's share has some strings attached.

“When the legislature gives money to government agencies of any sort or we enact policies that requires government agencies to do things it’s always good government to know whether they’re doing what they are advised to do and how they’re spending their money," said Leek.

New College will have to file quarterly progress reports on its spending and the implementation of its business plan. The school has had large-scale administrative changes after state leaders deemed it had become too progressive in its ideology.

“I just feel good about this whole session. I’m not worried about anything at this point," said Passidomo. "We passed a budget, well it’s not on the desk, but…you guys can go home early this weekend. Twice, in two years.”

The spending plan is coming in at $3 billion more than what Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed and just slightly less than the spending levels set for the current fiscal year.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.
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