Tallahassee, Florida – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a $ 109.9 billion state budget bill that includes raising salaries for civil servants and law enforcement, as well as suspending taxes on gas, diapers and school supplies.
The Republican governor signed budget legislation at an event at The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community, where supporters gathered a recreation center and applauded as he highlighted his pandemic policies and spending priorities, criticizing Democrat President Joe Biden.
“What we’re doing in the budget is making sure we’re meeting our commitments, making sure we’re funding key priorities, but also protecting the state from what could very well be caused by Biden’s recession,” DeSantis said. who is running for re-election and is considered a potential presidential candidate from the Republican Party in 2024.
In March, lawmakers in the government-controlled Republican Party approved the March budget mostly on a bipartisan basis after a legislative session dominated by fierce guerrilla fights over bills concerning race, gender, gender and abortion.
Numerous budget provisions include a 5.38% increase for all civil servants, an increase in teachers ’salaries and funding to increase the minimum wage for civil servants to $ 15. The state has also allocated money to pay up to $ 5,000 in subscription bonuses for new law enforcement officers or outside the state who join Florida police stations. Existing Florida law enforcement officers will also receive a 5% salary increase or increase their salary to $ 50,000.
The budget also includes various suspensions of state taxes, which, according to the governor and others, are needed to combat economic inflation. The state will suspend the tax on sales of diapers and baby clothes for fiscal 2022-2023 and create a two-week tax holiday on clothing, footwear and school supplies between July 25 and August 7, as well as other suspended taxes.
At the request of DeSantis, the legislature introduced a one-month suspension of the gas tax in the October budget, which will reduce the price of gas by about 25 cents per gallon. Republicans said they chose October, a month before the statewide election, because at that time the state usually has fewer tourists. Initially, the governor asked to suspend the state duty on gas for five months.
The governor also vetoed $ 3.1 billion on budget expenditures by cutting various items, including $ 1 million on a food procurement program for low-income or unemployed people, $ 20 million on new government aircraft and millions on repair and refurbishment of colleges, among others.
Democrats on Thursday rushed to criticize the new budget, saying it did not help Florida residents with rising housing costs, and noted that the budget was filled with federal funds from the Biden administration.
“The governor doesn’t like to mention it, but Florida’s budget this year includes nearly $ 40 billion in federal money. It’s unfortunate that, despite record money for work, we couldn’t have done more for Florida residents struggling with the housing crisis and global inflation, ”said MP Fentris Driskel, the new Democrat leader in the House of Representatives.