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Governor Unveils 4th Budget

December 9th, 2021 by Mike Vasilinda

Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed spending $99.7 billion to run the state for the year beginning July 1st, 2022.

There is more money for schools, the environment and some tax breaks.

The biggest break could save motorists more than 25 cents a gallon for most of the second half of next year.

The Freedom First budget is how the Governor is billing his spending plan.

“Florida is clicking on all cylinders when it comes to economy and budget,” said DeSantis at the Thursday announcement.

The proposal is flush with billions in federal money, which the Governor wants to use to offset the state’s gas tax for five months starting in July.

“Which will be a cushion and a buffer against the rising gas prices we have seen,” said DeSantis.

There is also $650 million for teacher raises, who along with police and other first responders, will also see thousand dollar bonuses.

“That’s over 175,000 individuals,” said DeSantis.

Other school employees could see only minimum hikes, which the Florida Education Association argues doesn’t go far enough.

“We are seeing a drain of the profession from teaches and bus drivers, to cafeteria workers and paraprofessionals,” said FEA President Andrew Spar.

Per student spending rises to a record $8,000 under the plan.

And the Governor is putting his foot down, demanding there be no tuition increases.

In a post-announcement news conference, Democrats said they will fight to do more more for average Floridians.

“Parents are scared because children have to wait in the dark for a bus that may or may not come pick them up,” said State Representative Angie Nixon.

But the Governor told us if Democrats had their way, Florida wouldn’t be able to afford what he is proposing.

“They would have locked down and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. They criticized me for keeping the state open,” said DeSantis.

The Governor is also asking for a 30 percent increase in cancer research, more money for nursing homes, and more help for Alzheimers patients.

Florida currently has a $15 billion reserve that is expected to grow to $17 billion before the budget kicks in on July first.

Lawmakers still have to approve the proposal.

Some tweaks are inevitable, but since taking office, this Governor has gotten most everything he wants from lawmakers.

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