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Two-thirds of the $24 billion that go to Florida's state budget is spent on Medicaid.<ref name=debt/>
Two-thirds of the $24 billion that go to Florida's state budget is spent on Medicaid.<ref name=debt/>
The state's 32 Healthy Start coalitions saw their collective budgets reduced by $5.4 million for the fiscal year that began July 1, about a 23 percent reduction from the previous year's total of $23.6 million. Statewide, more than 14,000 women and children are expected to lose free access to a litany of Healthy Start services, such as prenatal care, mental health and substance abuse counseling and parenting education. <ref> [ News Chief, Budget cuts hit Healthy Start Coalitions hard, Aug. 22, 2011] </ref>
The state's 32 Healthy Start coalitions saw their collective budgets reduced by $5.4 million for the fiscal year that began July 1, about a 23 percent reduction from the previous year's total of $23.6 million. Statewide, more than 14,000 women and children are expected to lose free access to a litany of Healthy Start services, such as prenatal care, mental health and substance abuse counseling and parenting education.<ref> [ News Chief, Budget cuts hit Healthy Start Coalitions hard, Aug. 22, 2011] </ref>

Revision as of 22:29, 10 March 2014

Florida state budget

Flag of Florida.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2013
Date signed:  April 17, 2012
Financial figures
GF expenses:  $6.9 billion
Other state budgets
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Florida operates on an annual budget cycle. Its fiscal year begins July 1 and it is currently in FY2013.

The Florida State Legislature passed the $69.9 billion FY2013 Florida state budget on March 9, 2012.[1] Gov. Rick Scott signed the budget into law on April 17, 2012, after vetoing $142.7 million in spending.[2]

Florida has a total state debt of approximately $134,900,802,000, when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the FY2013 budget gap.[3] The total state decreased from the prior year's total of $139,156,956,000[4]

Florida's total state debt per capita is $7,078.60.[5]

See also: The Florida State Budget on State Budget Solutions

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Florida 27.81% (#30) 31.59% (#52) 35.61% (#31) 36.93% (#23)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[6][7]

Impact of Affordable Care Act

The federal Affordable Care Act is expected to add tens of millions of dollars in costs to Florida's state-employee health insurance program. Some legislators are considering shifting more costs to state employees. Florida officials estimate that mandated health insurance coverage for employees classified as temporary, but working more than 30 hours a week, would cost the state-employee insurance program about $72.8 million during the upcoming 2013-14 fiscal year. That number would grow to $137 million in 2014-15, the first full fiscal year in which most of the Affordable Care Act would be in effect.[8]

If Florida does not offer coverage to OPS employees, it could get hit with an estimated annual penalty of $318 million under the federal law. That is because of a requirement that large employers offer coverage to employees who log 30 or more hours a week.[9]

FY2014 State Budget

On Jan. 31, 2013, Gov. Rick Scott introduced his proposed FY2014 state budget of $74.2 billion, an increase of $4 billion from the prior year.[10] If passed, it would become the largest budget in state history.[11]

The state's general revenue portion of the budget, a $27.1 billion for discretionary spending, is 4.7 percent higher than FY2013.[10]

Highlights of the governor's proposal include:

  • eliminating taxes on manufacturers,[11] which is expected to save 17,500 employers about $140 million a year;[10]
  • $1.2 billion more for K-12 education,[10] including $2,500 raises for teachers;[11]
  • $393.3 million in additional funding for state universities, with $167 million of that money marked for “performance funding” and $15 million for the University of Florida to use to attempt to climb into the Top-10 for public universities;[11]
  • $300 million for bonuses for high-performing state employees, whose ranks would shrink from 117,930 positions to 114,283 under the spending plan;[11]
  • $75 million for the state's environmental land buying program;[10]
  • $30 million more for Everglades restoration funding, bringing the total to $60 million.[11]

FY2013 State Budget

The Florida State Legislature passed the $69.9 billion FY2013 Florida state budget on March 9, 2012.[12] The budget passed by the legislature can be found here. House Bill 5001, the appropriations bill signed by the governor, can be found here. Gov. Rick Scott signed the budget into law on April 17, 2012, after vetoing $142.7 million in spending.[13] The veto list can found here.

A highlight of the budget is a billion dollar increase in K-12 education funding, which was a priority of the governor.[14] The additional funding brought the state funds to education to a total of $17.2 billion, equal to an increase of $150 per student.[12]

Other budget highlights include:

  • closing six prisons;[12]
  • eliminating 4,400 jobs, nearly 3.6 percent of the state’s work force;[12]
  • Cuts Medicaid payments to hospitals by 7.5 percent;[12]
  • Raises child abuse investigators’ pay by $4,000 a year;[12]
  • Increases Medicaid budget by $305 million for new cases;[12]
  • Pay freeze for state workers for 6th year in a row[12]

Legislative proposed budget

On Feb. 28, 2012, legislative leaders announced that the House and Senate reached a compromise on the state budget, including using $300 million from higher education reserves, and that a conference committee would be convened to finalize the details of the budget.[15] The conference committee reached an agreement with both chambers of the legislature passed HB 5001 on April 6, 2012, and passing it on to the governor.[16] The governor said he did not anticipate making anywhere near the $615 million in budget vetoes that he made the previous year.[17]

Senate's proposed budget

The head of the Senate's Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Appropriations proposed a $70.5 billion general fund on Feb 8, 2012. It would slash general revenue spending on Medicaid by $218.7 million and cut $86.5 million from adult mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. The House and Governor's budgets increased funding in these areas to restore cuts made last year.[18]

The Senate passed its $71 billion budget, SB 7050, on Feb., 2012. The budget as passed raises college tuition by 3 percent and permits universities to raise tuition up to 15 percent. The budget provides no across-the-board pay raises for state workers for the sixth year in a row and the elimination of 3,800 full-time jobs in state government, most of which are unfilled. It also reserves $2.2 billion for emergencies and contingencies.[12]

The Senate vote sets up negotiations with the House over the next 10 days to seek a budget compromise to bring the 2012 session to a timely end by March 9.[12]

House of Representatives proposed budget

On Jan. 27, 2012, the Republican-controlled House released its $69.2 billion proposed spending plan, HB 5001, which was $3 billion more than the governor's proposal in part because it rejects some of the extensive cuts in health care programs that he recommended.[19] The House passed its plan on Feb. 9, 2012.[20]


The House budget increases spending on public schools by more than $1 billion, which is 2.27% increase in per-student funding. It sets aside nearly $400 million to provide construction money for universities, community colleges and for charter schools. It includes no money for school districts. It recommended an 8 percent hike in higher education tuition, whereas the governor's budget kept tuition flat.[19]


The House budget includes $35 million for Everglades restoration, although the Senate budget does not. The House budget also does not include the governor's $15 million for the state’s land-conservation program, Florida Forever, which the Senate also did not include that, either.[20]


The House budget includes the closing of driver license officers, a reduction in the number of probation officers, and even the elimination of a handful of investigators who handle arson and consumer fraud cases.[19]

Governor's proposed budget

Highlights of the governor's proposed budget as outlined by his administration can be found here.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott proposed a $66.4 billion budget that includes a $1 billion increase in K-12 education funding despite the fact that lawmakers must address a $2 billion shortfall.[21] The governor hopes to get the money for schools by cutting Medicaid payments to hospitals. The proposed budget cuts 4,500 state jobs, raises monthly medical premiums for highly-paid state employees as well as lawmakers. It also continues privatization of the prison system despite legal challenges to that plan.[22] The proposed budget can be found here.

In October 2011, state economists predicted that the state's tax collections will fall short by $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion over the next two years.[23] That is a big departure from forecasts by Florida's Office of Economic and Demographic Research in August 2011 that the state could see a surplus of $300 million in FY2013. At the same time, economists cautioned that forecast was shaky because growth over the next year could be undermined by recent economic woes and said it was likely that the forecast would be revised downward.[24] That became reality when the revised forecast was released the following month, with predictions of a deficit, not a surplus.[25]

Lawmakers requested that state agencies submit proposals for FY2013 that show 10 percent budget cuts by September 2011.[24] Some agencies, however, requested more money, not less. For example, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services requested $7.2 million for new firefighting equipment.[26]

The Legislature also plans on setting aside at least $1 billion in a reserve fund for emergencies.[26]

State economists said growth in Florida's once-exploding Medicaid program is slowing and predicted Medicaid spending will increase by $1.3 billion, or 6.3 percent, next fiscal year. That translates to the state likely paying an additional $900 million more in FY2013 than it did in FY2012, for a total of nearly $5.2 billion spent on Medicaid in FY2013.[27] Gov. Scott said he hadn’t anticipated a FY2013 deficit, partly because he expected to get a federal waiver letting the state expand its use of managed care for recipients of Medicaid, but the federal government has not granted the necessary permission for the waiver.[28] Projected Medicaid costs for FY2013 are at $21.6 billion.[22]

Florida will lose approximately $550 million in federal education stimulus funds, according to the governor.[29]

FY2012 State Budget


Florida collected $23.62 billion in general revenue during FY2012, which was $1.07 billion, or 4.7 percent, more than in the previous budget year.[30]

Florida's taxes and other general state revenues came in $407.1 million above estimates.[30]

Reasons for the surplus include:

  • sales tax collections came in $152.3 million over estimate;
  • $70 million in corporate taxes collected by the state in June 2012 that were not due until FY2013, which begins July 1, 2012; and
  • $300 million share of a $25 billion national settlement with major mortgage companies over allegations they used deceptive foreclosure practices.[30]

Budget as passed

On May 26, 2011, Gov. Rick Scott signed a new $69 billion Florida budget but vetoed a record $615 million after lawmakers previously chopped nearly $4 billion. The plan eliminates about 4,500 state positions, most of them filled. School districts expect to lay off thousands more due to spending cuts.[31] The budget bill, Senate Bill 2000, can be found here. The budget is $4.6 billion smaller than 2006, and spending is down two percent from FY2011.[32]

Among the cuts Scott made are:[33]

  • Nearly $4.8 million to public television and radio Stations
  • Nearly $14 million from the various University of South Florida campuses
  • A request by the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority to roll over its unspent balance
  • $305 million in a state trust fund for environmental land acquisition
  • Three line items for Daytona State College: $7.8 million for a remodel of and addition to the News-Journal Center, $2.4 million for remodeling the college's existing theater center and $3.012 million for renovation of a classroom building and air conditioning system improvements that college officials said would save $200,000 a year in energy costs[34]
  • $10 million appropriation for St. Johns River restoration[35]
  • $12 million for a national veteran's homeless support group
  • $6 million in economic aid to the Florida Panhandle.
  • $165 million for construction, remodeling and renovation projects earmarked for Florida's universities, state colleges and K-12 public schools.[36]
  • $278.8 million from the Division of Emergency Management, approximately 40 percent of the agency's budget[37]
  • A full list of vetoed items can be found here

Education spending

For four years Florida has devoted between 24.8 and 25.6% percent of its budget K-12 education spending.[38]

Fiscal Year Total Spending[39] Education Spending[40] Percent Education Spending
2009 $159.5 billion $40.0 billion 25.0%
2010 $163.8 billion $40.7 billion 24.8%
2011 $160.7 billion $40.5 billion 25.2%
2012 $159.7 billion $40.9 billion 25.6%


Under the state budget, the state took 3 percent of salaries of teachers, police and state employees and put the money into the Florida Retirement System, replacing more than $1 billion of the state’s obligation to the pension fund. Unions including the Florida Education Association, Police Benevolent Association and the SEIU Florida Public Service Union filed the lawsuit on June 20, 2011, in Leon County, claiming that state law expressly provides that employees do not have to contribute part of their salaries to the state retirement system unless they agree to the change in their negotiated contracts.[41]

On March 6, 2012, Leon County Court Judge Jackie Fulford ruled that the decision last year to cut public employee salaries was an unconstitutional breach of the state's contract and ordered the money returned with interest.[42] The state appealed, which put a hold on the court's order to repay the money, and Representative Will Weatherford said he thought that the appeal would be successful and the decision would not impact the state budget. [43]

Changes in the Florida's pension laws gave government agencies across the state a one-time windfall. Some agencies, such as Brevard Public Schools, will shore up an overall budget that lost $40 million in lawmakers' efforts to bring in a balanced state budget. Others, such as the Brevard County Sheriffs Office, will use it to give employees raises and cost-of-living adjustments.[44]

Medicaid and Healthy Start

There are approximately 3 million Medicaid recipients in Florida.[45] On June 2, 2011, Gov. Scott signed two bills, HB 7107 and HB 7109, that privatized portion of the state's Medicaid program, which lawmakers said was overwhelming the state budget and needed to be privatized to rein in costs and improve patient care. It will cover the entire population in October 2014. The bills also require providers to generate a 5 percent savings the first year. The plan divides the bill into 11 regions where managed care plans and hospital networks will bid on contracts to serve certain regions. The federal government must approve the plan.[46] The governor said that the plan can save approximately $4 billion over the next two years.[45]

Medicaid has grown to 30.7 percent of the budget in the current spending plan from 22.2 percent of the budget in 2008. The federal government matches every state dollar spent on Medicaid with several federal dollars, which varies by program. That federal money is restricted to health care and could not be spent elsewhere. Much of the Medicaid growth is due to the federal stimulus and Florida’s 2009 $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase. Florida is also limited by federal law from cutting Medicaid eligibility or services.[47]

Two-thirds of the $24 billion that go to Florida's state budget is spent on Medicaid.[32]

The state's 32 Healthy Start coalitions saw their collective budgets reduced by $5.4 million for the fiscal year that began July 1, about a 23 percent reduction from the previous year's total of $23.6 million. Statewide, more than 14,000 women and children are expected to lose free access to a litany of Healthy Start services, such as prenatal care, mental health and substance abuse counseling and parenting education.[48]


The Polk County Sheriff plans to sell boxers and briefs to inmates of the Polk County jail for a small fee. “We’re not going to let them pick the colors. We’ll give them any color they want as long as it’s white,” he joked. Judd said cutting the underwear will save around $45,000 a year, enough to save a job at the jail.[49]

The budget provides that the state will hire private vendors to run the prisons by Jan. 1, 2012. On July 18, 2011, the Florida Police Benevolent Association filed suit against Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss to block a plan to privatize 30 prisons in Miami-Dade, Broward and 16 other counties. Those prisons currently house about 20 percent of Florida's inmate population, which is approximately 102,000.[50] In September 2011, Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ruled that the plan to privatize nearly 30 prison facilities in South Florida violated the Florida Constitution because legislators included the provision in the state budget instead of passing it as a stand-alone law. Attorney General Pam Bondi said in October 2011 that the state would appeal the decision.[51]

The privatization proposal was $25 million over-budget because the Department of Corrections would have to pay comp time, vacation and sick leave to some 4,000 workers in those facilities that would lose their jobs, according to internal email between Department of Corrections officials that suggests lawmakers were warned the privatization push would come at a cost.[52]

Department of Environmental Protection

Gov. Rick Scott applauded the news that the state Department of Environmental Protection would look to cut its budget by $700 million, mostly through arrangements with the five water management districts across the state.[53]

Scott praised the Water districts for submitting tentative budgets that slash spending by more than $700 million, but stated the cuts in most cases were not enough. Scott called for additional cuts of $2.4 million including deferred compensation payments. He also asked for reductions in salaries and benefits, including limiting executive director salaries to $165,000, general counsel salaries to $160,000 and 5 percent reductions in the salary of any district manager making more than $100,000.[54]

Federal Funds

Under Gov. Scott, the state has rejected more than $105 million in federal funds for programs linked to federal health care initiatives. It has returned more than $4 million dollars to the federal government as well.[55]

Federal spending dropped 10 percent in the FY2012 state budget from the FY2011 budget, but the federal government remains the single largest source of money despite efforts from Gov. Rick Scott to reduce the state's reliance on Congress. In the FY2012 budget, $24 billion comes from the federal government, and two-thirds of that goes toward Medicaid.[32]

On Sept. 7, 2011, the Legislative Budget Commission approved a $31.5 million federal grant over five years for a home visitation program for at-risk families that would help curb child abuse and work with pregnant women.[55]

Mosquito Abatement

The state slashed its contribution to local mosquito control by half. With a line-item veto, Gov. Rick Scott closed a university mosquito lab that mosquito abatement officers relied on for pesticide research. Effective management of mosquitoes has been closely linked to the state's prosperity.[56]

Government layoffs

In the wake of large-scale budget cuts, the South Florida Water Management District laid off 134 employees in the past week, according to the Palm Beach Post. The 134 workers laid off from the South Florida Water Management District in the last week will save the district $9 million in salaries but cost more than 1,785 years of experience and institutional knowledge.[57]

Credit Outlook

Florida's credit outlook was revised to stable from negative because its new budget begins to fix a longstanding gap between what it spends and what it collects, according to a new Standard & Poor's report. For now, Florida will continue to hold a AAA rating. S&P saluted Florida for working to rebuild its financial reserves, cushions which were depleted during the recession.[58] Fitch's said Florida's revenue sources are vulnerable to declines in the rates of population growth, consumption, and activity in the housing market, which continues its severe correction following a historic run-up. It added the state's debt burden is moderate and pensions are well funded. They also said Florida's long-term economic prospects are solid, although current economic performance remains weak.[59]

Standard & Poor's listed the state's rating at AAA in July based on "significant cost-cutting measures," and that credit rating seems to be sticking. After closing a budget hole, Florida was able to lower its borrowing costs, which may, in turn, improve the climate for businesses in the Sunshine State. Some credit Gov. Rick Scott and the state Legislature for the state's budget praise.[60]

Proposed Budgets

Governor's Proposed Budget

Gov. Scott presented his first budget proposal on Feb. 7, 2011 and the state's shortfall was estimated at $3.6 billion.[61] In his $65.9 billion budget the governor proposed reducing K-12 per-pupil by 10% and also cutting $3 billion from Medicaid over two years.[62] Overall, Scott proposed cutting state spending by $5 billion.[63] Because 80 percent of Florida's budget goes toward personnel, Gov. Scott is determined to tackle those expenses though downsizing and employee contributions.[64]

Lawmakers from both parties criticized the proposed budget for its lack of detail regarding the proposed cuts.[62]

Scott's budget included $2.4 billion in proposed tax cuts.[62] He said that he will cut the state corporate income tax by 45% and plans to reduce property taxes that are now directed to school spending by another $1.4 billion.[65]

He's also said that state employees should contribute to the state pension system for the first time.[66]

Other highlights of Scott's proposed budget include:

  • Cut number of judicial assistants in Circuit Courts by half
  • A $703 million cut in school funding
  • Eliminate $82 million at the Department of Corrections, which translates into 1,690 positions
  • In addition to the positions in the Department of Corrections, Scott's budget eliminates an additional 7,000 state positions.

Medicaid Reform

Gov. Scott said it is necessary for Florida to reform Medicaid. There are approximately 3 million Medicaid recipients in Florida. He is seeking a federal waiver to transfer Florida's Medicaid recipients into privately run managed-care programs, which he believes will save approximately $4 billion over the next two years.[45]

Florida's Medicaid program, which provides health care to low-income individuals and families, cost $20.2 billion for fiscal year 2010-11. Costs are shared equally between state and federal government. However, Medicaid costs in Florida are expected to climb to $25.08 billion by 2013-14.[67] It is unlikely the federal government will approve the plan until June, which is one month after the Florida budget is expected to pass.[45]

Some key provisions of the governor's Medicaid reform plan include:[68]

  • Create new patient co-pays for Medicaid recipients. Patients would be responsible for $100 co-pays for non-emergency care in hospital emergency departments (compared with $15 now)
  • It would create a $3 co-payment for visits to specialty physicians
  • Smokers and drug and alcohol dependent beneficiaries would have to consent to medically directed rehabilitation programs
  • The morbidly obese would be required to undergo a medically-directed weight-loss program
  • The reform plan would establish 19 Medicaid regions, where the state would contract up to 10 different insurance providers. Recipients could then choose a provider in their region
  • The reform would restrict eligibility to U.S. residents and non-residents in the country legally. Exceptions for emergency medical care and care of pregnant women would be made

Scott's plan is an expansion of a pilot program created by former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006. That program affected five counties -- Broward, Duval, Baker, Clay and Nassau. Critics worry for-profit providers are scrimping on patient care and denying medical services to increase profits. Business Week reported that five years into the pilot program there's little data showing whether savings stem from providers offering less care or because they're delivering it more efficiently.[69]

Budget Criticisms

With Scott's new budget, more than 2,000 state employees will be forced into the unemployment line as the governor's plan eliminates 4,500 jobs, about half of which are filled. There will be significant layoffs for workers in state mental health hospitals, juvenile justice facilities and state prisons. In some cases those cuts could negatively impact rural communities where the state is a major employer. With an 8 percent cut in education funding, the new budget will result in the additional loss of thousands of jobs in schools around the state.[70]

Scott's critics say the plan is ill suited for a time when there are nearly 1 million Floridians without employment. Scott said his plan eliminates unnecessary government and will help create more private sector jobs.[71]

Union Protests

The governor's proposed budget slashes $3.3 billion from education and $340 million from state colleges and universities. Scott's proposals do not go as far as those of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin who is seeking to end collective bargaining on benefits for public unions. Unlike the Midwestern state, organized labor has a small presence in the private sector of Florida's economy.

Even prior to the release of Gov. Scott's budget public employee unions were scheduling protests to his proposed cuts, including public employees to contribute 5 percent of their paychecks and enrolling all new public employees n 401(k)-like plans.[72] A union leader told that requiring a 5 percent contribution to the pension plan is nothing more than a 5 percent pay cut.[73]

The Florida Senate passed Bill 736, which would eliminate tenure for teachers hired after 2014. It would tie 50 percent of a teacher's pay to the performance of that teacher's students on standardized tests. Gov. Rick Scott has promised to sign the bill. This is legislation that many Miami-area teachers are already threatening to protest.[74]

Protests by various teacher organizations are planned for the March 8, the day the 2011 legislative session opens.

The Florida Community Action Network is planning a series of "Awake the State" rallies across the state on March 8. The rallies will protest budget cuts in all areas, not just education.[75]

Collective bargaining rights for public employees are protected in Florida's constitution, although legislators have proposed measures that would restrict union activities.[76]

Counter Protests

Florida Tea Party organizations are planning to rally at the capital on March 8, the day the new legislative session opens, in support of Gov. Scott's budget proposals. The number of Tea Party groups planning rallies in support of Gov. Scott has grown from 8 to 17.

Consumer Confidence

University of Florida researchers say Floridians outlook has been shaken due to the state budget. In a June 1, 2011 report UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research's consumer confidence rating dipped to 68, the worst since September 2010. Perceptions on personal finances compared to a year ago dropped 4 points to an anemic 52. Because political organizations seized on the cuts in the new budget signed by Gov. Scott, the downbeat mantra has resonated in the media echo chamber and stuck in the public's mind.[77]

When it comes to deciding whether now is a good time to make large purchases, such as appliances or a car, Florida’s index component dropped a point to 74, while perceptions on Floridian’s personal finances compared to a year ago also dropped four points to 52. Although April brought some positive signs of recovery, the report said the economic environment is still mixed. Unemployment dropped to 10.8 percent — the lowest in Florida since 2009 — but the rate is still one of the highest in the country. Median housing prices rose to $132,700, but the report said prices could decline as a backlog of foreclosures moves through the courts. Gas prices have declined the past two weeks, but should rise again with the summer travel season approaching. Nationally, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell unexpectedly from 66 to 61 in May. Analysts attributed the drop to high gas prices and general unease with both the job market and housing prices.[78]

UF's monthly consumer-confidence survey, which is timed to coincide with the Conference Board index, conducts 500 telephone interviews of Florida households via random digit dialing. Reported results are proportionate by county population, though not by party affiliation.[79]

Legislative Budgets

On May 1, 2011, legislators agreed to save more than $200 million with budget caps for the state's water management districts and also a prison-privatization plan.[80] Overall, the legislative budget cut nearly $4 billion from schools, employee benefits, health care and environmental programs but also included $70 million in tax incentives for the new "Department of Economic Opportunity" and $25 million for a three-day sales-tax holiday for back-to-school supplies in August.[81]

Neither the House nor the Senate budgets leave much room for tax cuts or fee reductions. In contrast, Gov. Scott had asked for a $2.4 billion in revenue reductions, including a reduction in property taxes.[82]

After two weeks of no movement, the House and Senate broke their deadlock with a deal that leaders said would balance the budget without raising taxes or fees. It includes $22.7 billion general revenue and also accounts for spending in areas such as public schools and health and human services while cutting approximately $4 billion in spending.[83]

Unlike the House, the Senate seeks to take over operations of expressway authorities. Also, the Senate pulls state water management districts into its budget. Those contribute to the two Senate budget of $69.8 billion, which is $3.2 billion larger than the House plan. The Senate cuts slightly fewer salaried positions, about 5,000. Another difference is that the House raids single-purpose trust fund accounts by $704 million, including $300 million from the category used for building and repairing roads and bridges.[82] The differences in two chambers’ budget plans must be reconciled by May 6 when the session ends. They were negotiating until talks broke down over the costs of higher-education cuts and new requirements over public-employee pensions.[84]


The House budget plan includes a 3 percent flat contribution rate from state employees to their pensions. The Senate budget takes a tiered approach to pension contributions, with a 2% for salaries under $25,000, a 4% for salaries between $25,000 to $50,000, and a 6% rate for those who earn more than $50,000. Both plans fall short of the governor's proposed 5% flat contribution rate for all 655,000 members of the Florida Retirement System.[85]

Budget transparency

See also: Evaluation of Florida state website or Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills

Certain public agencies have failed to comply with open records laws.[86]

Florida currently has some level of transparency, including "Transparency Florida," an online spending database created by the state's Chief Financial Officer.[87]

Budget review period

Article 3, Section 19(c) of the Florida State Constitution requires that "All general appropriation bills shall be furnished to each member of the legislature, each member of the cabinet, the governor, and the chief justice of the supreme court at least seventy-two hours before final passage by either house of the legislature of the bill in the form that will be presented to the governor."[88]

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database.

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary
Transparency Florida Y
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
Florida Has a Right to Know Y
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
  • Transparency Florida is searchable, and is easy to navigate.[89]
  • Contracts are available through a search.[90] There is a vendor search, but you must search specific vendors.[91]
  • Department and agency budgets are available.[92]
  • Public employee salaries are not available.

Limitations and Suggestions

Florida's Checkbook should post employee salaries just as other state transparency sites (such as the Missouri Accountability Portal) do.

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a transparency profile for Florida, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations, including Sunshine Review. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.[93]

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50 state comparison and profiles of other states.[94][95]

Budget background

"The budget development process has three major phases: agency requests, Governor’s recommendations and legislative adoption. Following instructions issued jointly by the Governor’s Office and the Legislature in July, state agencies begin developing long-range program plans and budget requests which lay out the programs and funding needs of each agency for the next fiscal year. By mid-October, these requests are submitted to the Governor for consideration in the recommended budget. The Legislature convenes in its regular session beginning in March. The budget passed by the Legislature is valid for one year, beginning each July 1, and ending on June 30."[96]

Florida does not have a personal income tax.[97] See Florida state budget (2008-2009) for more information.

Budget Figures

Fiscal 2010 Tax Collections Compared With Projections Used in Adopting Fiscal 2010 Budgets (Millions)

Category Amount
Sales Tax Original Estimate 15,902
Sales Tax Current Estimate 15,967
Personal Income Tax Original Estimate NA
Personal Income Tax Current Estimate NA
Corporate Income Tax Estimate 1,508
Corporate Income Tax Estimate 1,730

Accounting principles

See also: Florida government accounting principles

David W. Martin is Florida's Auditor General. the Auditor General is a constitutional officer appointed by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee.[98]. His appointment is confirmed by both houses of the Legislature. The department's are available online.[99]

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Florida[100] AA+ Aa1 AAA


Florida has received $9.8 billion in federal stimulus funding between February 2009 and June 2013.[101] The state also received $1.3 billion from the federal government under H.R. 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[102]

Public Employees

See also: Florida public employee salaries and Florida public pensions

According to 2011 Census data, the state of Florida and local governments in the state employed a total of 999.506 people.[103] Of those employees, 822,939 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $3,270,802,144 per month and 176,567 were part-time employees paid $179,047,462 per month.[103] More than 53% of those employees were in education or higher education.[103]

See also

External links

Additional reading


  1. The Miami Herald "Scott signs $69.9B Florida budget, vetoes $142.7M" March 10, 2012
  2. The Miami Herald "Scott signs $69.9B Florida budget, vetoes $142.7M" April 17, 2012
  3. State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  4. State Budget Solution “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  5. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  6. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  7. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  8. Jacksonville Business Journal, Obamacare to boost costs for state insurance plan, Jan. 17, 2013
  9. Jacksonville Business Journal, Obamacare to boost costs for state insurance plan, Jan. 17, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Reuters "Florida governor seeks higher school aid, business tax cuts" Jan. 31, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 The Orlando Sentinel "Scott’s $74.2 billion budget plan is the biggest in state history" Jan. 31, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 The Miami Herald "Scott signs $69.9B Florida budget, vetoes $142.7M" March 10, 2012
  13. The Miami Herald "Scott signs $69.9B Florida budget, vetoes $142.7M" April 17, 2012
  14. The Governor's Office "Additional State Funding for Florida Educaiton" April 16, 2012
  15. The Florida Times Union "State budget talks start tonight" Feb. 28, 2012
  16. Florida Senate "HB 5001: Appropriations"
  17. The Palm Beach Post "Budget vetoes seen as less likely in Gov. Scott's second year" April 8, 2012
  18. The Miami Herald "Senate budget calls for more local funding, less state money for hospitals" Feb. 8, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The Miami Herald "Fla. House rolls out nearly $69.2 billion budget" Jan. 27, 2012
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Orlando Sentinel "House passes $69.2 billion budget, over complaints about charters, foster kids and colleges" Feb. 9, 2012
  21. The Miami Herald "State lawmakers open session facing $2 billion budget shortfall" Jan. 8, 2012
  22. 22.0 22.1 The Miami Herald "Scott calls for more education spending, less on Medicaid" Dec. 7, 2011
  23. The Miami Herald "State tax collections expected to fall sharply" Oct. 11, 2011
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Miami Herald "State may avoid budget shortfall next year" Aug. 13, 2011
  25. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bleak
  26. 26.0 26.1 The St. Petersburg Times "State economist: Lawmakers should be ready to whack $2 billion from budget" Oct. 21, 2011
  27. The Miami Herald "Fla. economists predict modest Medicaid growth" Oct. 17, 2011
  28. Businessweek "Florida Tax-Relief Plan Crippled by Medicaid Costs, Scott Says" Dec. 1, 2011
  29. The Miami Herald Dec. 2, 2011
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 The Miami Herald "Fla. revenue $407.1M over estimate for budget year" July 27, 2012
  31. Miami Herald, Scott Signs New Florida Budget, May 26, 2011
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 The St. Petersburg Times "Debt debate that divided Congress and hurt markets could affect Florida's budget" Aug. 12, 2011
  33. WMNF, RIck Scott Signs Florida Budget, Slashes $600 Million in Line Item Vetoes, May 26, 2011
  34. Daytona News Journal, Daytona State takes big hit in $69.1 billion Florida budget, May 26, 2011
  35. Daytona News Journal, Daytona State takes big hit in $69.1 billion Florida budget, May 26, 2011
  36. Reuters, Florida governor vetoes $615 million of spending, May 27, 2011
  37. Bloomberg "Irene Aims at U.S. States Suffering Budget Cuts for Emergencies" Aug. 24, 2011
  38. State Budget Solutions "Throwing Money At Education Isn't Working" Sept. 12, 2012
  39. "Florida Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  40. "Florida Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  41. The Miami Herald "Teachers sue state over ‘unconstitutional’ pay cut to balance the budget" June 20, 2011
  42. The Miami Herald "Judge rules against the state in pension case, creating potential budget gap" March 6, 2012
  43. Bloomberg March , 2012
  44. Florida Today, Brevard governments use pension windfall to balance budgets, give pay raises, June 13, 22011
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 Business Week, Fla. Lawmakers Could Expand Medicaid Privatization, Feb. 1, 2011
  46. The Miami Herald "Florida governor signs historic Medicaid bill" June 2, 2011
  47. NPR, Education’s Florida Budget Competition, Aug. 25, 2011
  48. News Chief, Budget cuts hit Healthy Start Coalitions hard, Aug. 22, 2011
  49. Fox News, Sheriff Cuts Free Underwear From Jail's Budget, July 14, 2011
  50. The Miami Herald "Scott plan to privatize prisons draws suit by police union" July 19, 2011
  51. Businessweek "Florida prison privatization decision appealed" Oct. 31, 2011
  52. Orlando Sentinel, DOC privatization plans hit a couple of snags, Aug. 17, 2011
  53. Sunshine State News, Rick Scott Cheers the News of DEP Saving Taxpayers $700 Million, Aug. 24, 2011
  54. Daytona Beach News Journal, Governor orders water districts to make more budget cuts, Aug. 25, 2011
  55. 55.0 55.1 Fosters Daily Democrat "Fla. passes up over $100 million in federal grants" Sept. 13, 2011
  56. Reuters, Florida budget cuts, mosquito burst create itchy issue, July 15, 2011
  57. Florida Independent, Major layoffs at South Florida Water Management District, Aug. 18, 2011
  58. Reuters, Florida outlook improves to stable with budget: S&P. July 12, 2011
  59. Businesswire, Fitch Affirms Florida's Appropriation Bonds 'AA+'; Outlook Negative, July 15, 2011
  60. News 4, Fla. Credit Rating Improves As US's drops, Aug. 16, 2011
  61. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named streamlining
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 The Miami Herald "Lawmakers demand Florida budget details from Gov. Scott" Feb. 9, 2011
  63. "Cash-Strapped States Facing Budget Crises, Governors Facing Tough Decisions" Feb. 13, 2011
  64. Sunshine State News, Tea Parties Counter Public Employees, Feb. 23, 2011
  65. The Miami Herald "Gov. Scott says budget will include $2 billion in tax cuts" Feb. 3, 2011
  66. Reuters "Florida governor wants cheaper state pensions" Feb. 1, 2011
  67. Politifact, Scott Goes to Washington Looking for Waiver, Feb. 7, 2011
  68. News-Press, Managed Care in Florida Medicaid Reform, Feb. 23, 2011
  69. Business Week, Fla. Lawmakers Could Expand Medicaid Privatization, Feb. 1, 2011
  70. Ocala Scott's budget brings job losses, June 4, 2011
  71. Ocala Scott's budget brings job losses, June 4, 2011
  72. Orlando Sentinel, Protests to Scott's Budget Scheduled by Public Employee Unions, Feb. 7, 2011
  73. Teachers Blast Budget Cuts, March 1, 2011
  74. Examiner Senate Bill 736 Approved, Feb. 23, 2011
  75. TBO, Local Teachers Plan Rallies to Have their Voices Heard, Feb. 24, 2011
  76. The Daytona Beach Times Union "Will Florida lawmakers target unions?" March 6, 2011
  77. Sunshine State News, State budget sinks consumer confidence, UF says, June 1, 2011
  78. Poder360, Budget Affects Consumer Confidence in Florida, June 1, 2011
  79. Sunshine State News, State budget sinks consumer confidence, UF says, June 1, 2011
  80. The Miami Herald "House and Senate closer to agreement on budget" May 1, 2011
  81. The St. Augustine Record "State budget to slash $4B" May 2, 2011
  82. 82.0 82.1 The Miami Herald "House committee approves deep budget cuts" March 31, 2011
  83. Businessweek "Fla. House, Senate leaders break budget deadlock" April 26, 2011
  84. The Miami Herald "Budget talks break down" April 13, 2011
  85. Sunshine News "Gov. Rick Scott Pushes His Pension Reform Plan Ahead of Budget Talks" April 13, 2011
  86. Sun Sentinel, "Many Florida public agencies flunk simple open records test," November 28, 2008
  87. "Transparency Florida," Accessed August 14, 2013
  88. Article 3, Section 19(c), Accessed August 14, 2013
  89. Florida's Checkbook
  90. Contract Search
  91. Vendor Payment Search
  92. Florida Financials
  93. multi-measure transparency profile for Florida
  94. 50-state comparison
  95. profiles for other states
  96. Gov. Crist, "Budget Process Overview," retrieved October 14, 2009
  97. State of, retrieved October 14, 2009
  98. Joint Legislative Auditing Committee
  99. Florida Auditor General Web site, retrieved October 14, 2009
  100. California State Treasurer, “Comparison of Other States’ General Obligation Bond Ratings”
  101. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  102. Federal Fund Information for States “ARRA FMAP Extension & Education Jobs Fund Totals” Aug. 11, 2010
  103. 103.0 103.1 103.2 2011 Florida Public Employment U.S. Census Data