Governor Ron DeSantis’ $91.4B “Bolder, Brighter, Better Future Budget”
by Chip LaMarca

Florida’s growing economy and record-low unemployment rate is something our state can be proud of.  Floridians expect strong business growth, ample jobs, and a bright future; the latest economic reports live up to those expectations. In the latest report, Florida’s unemployment rate fell to 3.2 percent (with Broward County at 2.8 percent), and 11,100 jobs were added. These weren’t the only positive economic indicators our state has seen. The annual private-sector job growth rate of 2.8 percent far outpaces the national rate of 1.6 percent, and the labor force has had a growth rate of 1.5 percent over the past year, with 154,000 newly employed residents.  Florida consistently ranks among the best states for jobs, illustrating the benefits of limited taxes and government regulation.

Fort Lauderdale alone has created more than 13,000 jobs in the past year. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance announced that they helped create 2,083 high-value jobs during the last fiscal year. Fort Lauderdale remained among the top four metro areas in job demand in the state. Florida will continue to attract new visitors, businesses and residents to our state, especially Broward County with our beautiful beaches and booming economy.

Governor Ron DeSantis released his budget proposal for this year’s 2020 legislative session, which is called the “Bolder, Brighter, Better Future Budget.”  The focus of his budget is education, the environment and the well-being of Florida residents. Within the $91.4 billion budget, teachers are slated to receive a significant raise for the minimum salary for all full-time teachers.

This 2020 budget recommendation includes a base pay raise to $47,500 for more than 101,000 teachers in Florida. Currently, Florida ranks 26th in the US for starting teacher salary but, if approved, Florida will rank 2nd after the salary increase. The Governor’s proposal will help alleviate the teacher shortage, and give teachers a wage that is commensurate with the great work that they do for our students. Our teachers deserve this, and we will fight for them this upcoming session.

Governor DeSantis has also proposed $322 million for Everglades restoration projects, $150 million for water quality improvements, $50 million for springs restoration, and $22 million to combat the harmful effects of algal blooms and red tide. Governor DeSantis has requested $625 million from the Florida Legislature in reoccurring funds for the next three years for Everglades restoration and increased protection of Florida’s water resources. The Governor announced his support for legislation to increase fines for environmental crimes, which allows the Department of Environmental Protection to help enforce the environmental laws that are already in place.

As Floridians, it is important to protect our ecosystem and our water quality, and Governor DeSantis has continued to make Florida’s environment a top priority. I will continue to support efforts to protect our vital environmental resources. I will continue to stand up and be a vocal supporter of our beaches and the environment.

As always, it is a tremendous honor to serve you as your State Representative in Tallahassee.