Governor DeSantis' FY 2021-22 State Budget Proposal

Governor DeSantis released his budget recommendations for the upcoming 2021-22 Fiscal Year last week. The $96.6 billion proposal is entitled the “Florida Leads” budget . Roughly $2.5 billion of the $4.3 billion increase over the current state budget is related to expenditures or impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic response according to the Governor. The plan maintains a $6.6 billion reserve of which $1.7 billion is stocked away in the Budget Stabilization Fund. DeSantis was able to avoid drastic cuts in his plan by leveraging available federal dollars for the pandemic, utilizing better than expected state revenue collections, and finding by administrative efficiencies. Below are highlights of the budget.

Economic Development

  • $50 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund to support local infrastructure and job training projects 
  • $5 million for Enterprise Florida, Inc. to engage in targeted campaigns that market the opportunities available in Florida 
  • $50 million for VISIT FLORIDA's marketing programs, the same amount as in the current fiscal year, showcasing Florida 
  • $50 million for the Economic Development Transportation Fund, also known as the "Road Fund", providing funding for specific transportation problems 
  • $423.3 million for workforce and affordable housing programs across the state 
  • $423.3 million to fund workforce and affordable housing programs including:
    • $126.7 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program, and
    • $296.6 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP)
  • $1.9 billion in federal and state funding is provided so that communities can respond to and recover from major disasters
  • $383 million to continue Florida's response efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic


  • $550 million, an increase of $50 million, to continue raising the minimum K-12 teacher salary to $47,500
  • $22.8 billion in total funding and $12.9 billion in state funding for K-12 public schools, bringing K-12 per-student funding to $8,019
  • $1.2 billion in state operating funding for Florida's colleges and $2.7 billion for Florida's universities
  • No tuition increases for Florida colleges and universities
  • $115.7 million or $2,841 per student for the 40,723 students attending not-for-profit private colleges and universities under the Effective Access to Student Education Grant (EASE)
  • $560 million in performance funding for state universities
  • $119 million for Florida's Historically Black Colleges and Universities


  • $9.47 billion for the State Transportation Work Program, which includes vital funding to increase infrastructure capacity, new highway construction, bridge repairs, and seaport, aviation and transit program improvements including:
    • $717 million for Transit and Rail projects
    • $2.5 billion for highway construction to include 210 new lane miles
    • $1 billion in resurfacing to include 2,689 lane miles
    • $122.6 million in seaport infrastructure improvements
    • $331 million for aviation improvements of which $199.6 million is for Spaceports
    • $516 million in scheduled repairs for 89 bridges and replacement of 18 bridges


  • $473 million for Everglades restoration, $50 million for Springs restoration
  • $145 million for targeted water quality improvements,
  • $40 million for alternative water supply and
  • $25 million to combat harmful algal blooms and red tide
  • $50 million for the Florida Forever Program
  • $32 million for infrastructure improvements and resource management at state parks

The budget establishes the Resilient Florida program which will provide $1 billion over four years that provides grants to state and local government entities to address climate change and its effect on sea level rise and erratic storm events.


  • $32 million to provide funding for services to children and families who receive services through Florida's child welfare system
  • $53.9 million in funding to provide community based behavioral health services for adults with severe and persistent mental illness and children with emotional disturbances
  • $178 million in state and federal funding to fight against the national opioid epidemic 
  • $9 million in funding to support the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity to develop strategies to reduce health disparities and advance health equity
  • $51 million in funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities waiver program and allows more individuals with disabilities to live in their communities


As in previous years, the Governor's recommended budget also includes $65 million in tax breaks for Floridians, including a 8-day Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday and a 10-day Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.

Lawmakers will spend the next two weeks reviewing and sifting through the Governor's proposal, using it to craft their own state budget that will likely pass the last week of April. The Legislature's spending plan will most likely be more conservative (lower) than the Governor's plan after months of negotiations and deal making occur over the next few months.

Originally Published by Buchanan Ingersoll, February 2021

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