DeSantis signs budget with tax breaks and salary increases
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a $109.9 billion budget bill Thursday that includes pay raises for state employees and law enforcement, as well as tax suspensions on gasoline, diapers and school supplies.
The Republican governor signed the budget legislation at an event at The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community, where supporters packed a recreation center and cheered as he outlined his pandemic policies and priorities for spending while criticizing Democratic President Joe Biden.
“What we’re doing in the budget is making sure we’re meeting obligations, making sure we’re funding key priorities, but also protecting the state against what could very well be a Biden-induced recession,” said DeSantis, who is running for re-election and is seen as a potential frontrunner for a GOP presidential bid in 2024.
Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled State House approved the budget in March on a largely bipartisan basis after a legislative session dominated by bitter partisan fights over bills involving race, gender, and gender. ‘abortion.
The budget’s many provisions include a 5.38% raise for all state employees, teacher salary increases, and funding to raise the minimum wage for state employees to $15. The state has also set aside funds to provide up to $5,000 in signing bonuses to new or foreign law enforcement officers joining police departments in Florida. Law enforcement officers in Florida will also receive a 5% pay raise or have their pay increased to $50,000.
The budget also includes various state tax suspensions, which the governor and others say are necessary to combat economic inflation. The state will suspend the sales tax on diapers and baby clothes for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and create a two-week tax holiday on clothes, shoes and school supplies between July 25 and August 7, among other tax suspensions.
The Legislative Assembly, following a request by DeSantis, created a one-month gas tax suspension in the October budget, which will reduce the price of gas by approximately $25. cents per gallon. Republicans said they chose October, a month before statewide elections, because there are generally fewer tourists in the state around this time. The governor originally requested a five-month suspension of the state’s gasoline tax.
The governor also vetoed $3.1 billion in spending from the budget, cutting various budget items, including $1 million for a food drive program for low-income or unemployed people, $20 million for new state planes and millions for college remodeling and remodeling, among other things.
On Thursday, House Democrats were quick to criticize the new budget, saying it did not help Floridians enough to deal with rising housing costs and noted that the budget was supplemented by funds Federals of the Biden administration.
“The governor doesn’t like to mention this, but Florida’s budget includes nearly $40 billion in federal funds this year. It is unfortunate that despite record cash, we cannot do more for Floridians struggling with a housing crisis and global inflation,” said Rep. Fentrice Driskell, the new leader of the House Democrats.