(USNewsMag.com) – Governor Ron DeSantis revealed his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2023-2024 on February 1st. The Framework for Freedom Budget would see $114.8 billion used to establish “freedom first policies” aimed at continuing to build a robust economy that benefits the workers and families of Florida while providing a framework for other states to follow.
The news release announcing the new budget proposal includes changes to the state’s taxes to help Floridians keep more money “while facing record-high inflation,” which the statement blames on the federal government. The permanent tax cuts proposed by DeSantis include tax exemptions for baby and toddler necessities, strollers and cribs, OTC pet medications, and gas stoves. The exemption for gas stoves is widely considered a dig at the Biden administration.
Building on the permanent exemptions, the budget also proposes a tax holiday in the form of a 1-year tax exemption on products designed for children such as books, athletic equipment, and toys. Other items set to enjoy a yearlong tax exemption include household items under $25, cosmetics and toiletries, oral hygiene products, energy star appliances, and pet food. Preparedness supplies, power tools, outdoor recreation products, hand tools, and school supplies would all see tax holidays ranging from a few days to 15 weeks.
The proposed budget also includes a 5 percent raise for state employees, hundreds of millions of dollars for job growth, tourism marketing, and infrastructure projects, and more than $15 billion in reserves for natural disaster response, an important budgetary requirement for the state most likely to be impacted by hurricanes. The Governor has also proposed massive investments in the state’s education system, including $6.5 million for civic literacy and education. Over a billion dollars is earmarked for the protection of water resources and Everglades restoration.
While other states have played with the idea of defunding their law enforcement agencies, this proposal would invest in law enforcement and correctional departments. Over $124 million in this budget would go toward salary increases for those who work in public safety agencies. According to the statement on the Sunshine State’s official website, Florida is enjoying its lowest crime rate in 50 years.
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