Politics State & National News

Gov. Rick Scott’s ‘Securing Florida’s Future’ budget

November 14, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott today released a proposed $87.4 billion budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, an initial step as lawmakers prepare to negotiate a spending plan during the legislative session that starts in January. State departments are touting in press releases their share.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends more than $1.7 billion to protect and enhance Florida’s environment – a more than $220 million increase over the current year.

$355 million for Everglades restoration – Surpassing last year’s historic investment of $225 million, Governor Scott is recommending a record investment of $355 million for Everglades restoration. This funding will support projects that are vital to improving water quality and increasing water storage throughout the iconic Everglades ecosystem. This includes $105 million for the C-43 Reservoir, which will provide 55 billion gallons of water storage when complete, as well as $4 million for land acquisitions for key Everglades restoration projects moving forward.

This also includes $50 million to expedite repairs to the federal Herbert Hoover Dike, which is vital to protecting communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee, as well as the natural and water resources within the greater Everglades ecosystem. Last year, Governor Scott championed $50 million in funding to kick-start critical repairs to the Dike, which was the first time Florida has invested state funding into this critical federal project.

Record $100 million for beach restoration and renourishment – Governor Scott is recommending a record $100 million investment in beach restoration – the highest ever level of funding for beach restoration. This includes $50 million for statewide beach renourishment, beach and dune restoration among other coastal restoration projects, and $50 million toward the state’s share of beach restoration to repair damages resulting from Hurricane Irma.

The budget also includes $3.6 million for the Florida Resilient Coastline Initiative for additional coral reef protection, and will allow DEP to assist local governments with sea level rise planning and coastal resilience projects.

Record $55 million for springs restoration and protection projects – Continuing his legacy of making historic investments in the restoration and protection of Florida’s springs, Governor Scott’s is recommending a record $55 million for springs restoration. This funding will be used to fund projects vital to improving water quality and protecting water supply.

Record $50 million for Florida State Parks – On top of Florida State Parks operating budget, Governor Scott is proposing $50 million for facility improvements for Florida’s award-winning state park system, which welcomed 32 million visitors last year. Governor Scott is also proposing an additional $4 million to improve ADA accessibility, making parks more accessible to all visitors, and $750,000 to partner with organizations to further the success of the Florida State Park System.

$50 million for Florida Forever – Governor Scott is proposing $50 million for Florida Forever for the acquisition of rare and sensitive lands, including greenways and trails. By making strategic acquisitions, Governor Scott is working to ensure these prized properties are preserved and protected for future generations. Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget includes more than $172 million for land acquisition and management.

Florida Department of Education

• $21.4 billion in state and local funding, an increase of $769.6 million.
o   Historic per-student funding of $7,497, an increase of $200 over 2017-18 levels;
o   $198 million increase in state funds to support an additional 27,184 students;
o   $63.2 million for teacher supply grants of $100 per teacher to purchase classroom supplies needed for the school year, an increase of $17.9 million; and
o   $74.5 million to ensure school safety for our students, an increase of $10 million.

•Funding to help ensure that Florida students have well-prepared, high-quality educators and that educators are recognized and compensated for outstanding performance:
o   $12 million to establish Summer Academies to accelerate English Language Learners in grades 4-8 not meeting grade level expectations;
o   $15 million for computer coding and professional development initiative;
o   $770,000 to recognize outstanding educators in our public schools through the Teacher of the Year program which provides at least $10,000 for district winners; at least $15,000 for the top five finalists; and at least $20,000 for the statewide winner; and
o   $1 million in security funding for Jewish Day Schools to help provide security and counter-terrorism upgrades such as video cameras, fences, bullet-proof glass, alarm systems and other safety equipment.

• $1.24 billion in state operating funds, an increase of $31.9 million which provides:
o   $120 million for performance funding, with $60 million in state investment; and
o   $14 million to incentivize industry certification performance, an increase of $4 million.

• $420.6 million to fund Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which includes funding to ensure the Florida Academic Scholars award will continue to cover 100 percent of tuition and fees for all eligible students.

• $150 million for maintenance, repairs, renovation and remodeling includes:
o    $50 million for public schools;
o    $50 million for charter schools; and
o    $50 million for Florida colleges.
• $34.4 million for Florida College System construction projects;
• $1 million for security funding for Jewish Day Schools; and
• $48.9 million for special facility construction projects.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Today, Governor Rick Scott announced his 2018-2019 Securing Florida’s Future budget recommendations, which include $1.2 billion to attract businesses and visitors to Florida to continue the state’s incredible economic growth. The Securing Florida’s Future budget also includes an $85 million investment in the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to improve infrastructure and workforce in order to grow the economy across Florida’s local communities.

$85 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund to Ensure Florida’s Infrastructure and Workforce Remain Competitive for Job Creation

• The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests $85 million in Florida’s Job Growth Grant Fund to meet the workforce and infrastructure needs of local communities. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, which was established by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature earlier this year, is designed to support projects for public infrastructure and workforce training projects that enhance growth and employment in Florida’s diverse industries. The fund is focused on projects that provide a strong, measurable return on investment. Job training and public infrastructure improvements will help Florida compete with other states for jobs and support economic development across the state.

$23.7 million for Enterprise Florida to Grow and Expand Businesses in Florida
• The Securing Florida’s Future budget will help diversify our economy by attracting high-skill, high-wage jobs and encouraging Florida businesses to expand within the Sunshine State. This will ensure Florida remains the best state to do business.

$100 million for VISIT FLORIDA to Promote Florida as the #1 Tourist Destination
• The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests $100 million for VISIT FLORIDA to market the state around the globe to highlight our distinctive and diverse vacation opportunities. Tourism has a vital impact on the state’s economy, and Florida saw a record number of 112 million visitors in 2016. Attracting visitors to the Sunshine State is especially important as the tourism industry recovers from the impacts of Hurricane Irma. For every dollar invested in VISIT FLORIDA, taxpayers see a return of $3.20.

$23 million to Develop the Top STEM Workforce in the Country
• The Securing Florida’s Future budget includes $20 million for the Quick Response Training (FloridaFlex) and $3 million for the Incumbent Worker Training Program in partnership with CareerSource Florida to continue investing in the state’s workforce by providing specialized training to keep Florida businesses competitive.

Florida Department of Children and Families
Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget proposes $3.1 billion for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to continue carrying out the agency’s mission to keep vulnerable children and families safe, support adoptive families, and expand and improve community behavioral health services. This funding will also support Florida’s response to the national opioid crisis impacting families and communities across the state.

• $10 million investment for an additional 130 Child Protective Investigator (CPI) positions and Florida Abuse Hotline counselors within the Florida Department of Children and Families. This investment will address retention and workload statewide as these individuals continue to focus on keeping vulnerable children safe;
• $10.4 million for the Community-Based Care Lead Agencies to maintain funding for dependency case management positions to support increasing out-of-home care caseloads of case managers;
• $2.2 million to expand the existing continuum of care for victims of human trafficking;
• $2.2 million for maintenance adoption subsidies, which provides funding for the families of children who are adopted from foster care to receive the services they need. This is an increase over current year funding, resulting in a nearly $200 million investment;
• $27 million for year two of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant for medication-assisted treatment and support and prevention services;
• $15 million to enhance substance abuse service capacity statewide, including increasing outpatient, aftercare, recovery support, residential, and medication-assisted treatment;
• $2.8 million to create three new Forensic Multidisciplinary Teams to serve individuals with mental illnesses who are charged with non-violent felony offenses or are at-risk of being charged with a non-violent felony offense;
• $2.2 million to implement Coordinated Specialty Care treatment programs targeting youth and young adults ages 15-30 with early serious mental illness.

Florida Department of State
Today, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner applauded Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019, which invests $109.7 million in the Department of State. Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget makes key investments to continue Florida’s successful elections administration, improve business efficiency, and supports cultural heritage tourism and economic development.

• $488,693 and five staff positions in recurring funds from general revenue to create a cyber-security section at DOS which will bolster the current staff and enhance the Department’s ability to provide security for its mission critical systems.

• $12 million in nonrecurring funding from general revenue to replace the aging SunBiz system, an electronic business filing system, which will ensure increased efficiency and security.

•  $350,000 for updated and increased security monitoring for all Department properties.

• $14.3 million in grant funding for cultural, historical and library grant programs which will provide additional funding for these programs over the Department’s base budget.

Florida Department of Corrections

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) today highlighted Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget, which recommends an additional $169 million, for a total of $2.6 billion, to the Department. This funding includes infrastructure investments, enhanced mental health services and programing aimed at reducing recidivism and enhancing safety in communities across the state. Recent investments in re-entry programming have helped to reduce Florida’s recidivism rate to 25.2 percent, which translates into less crime and safer neighborhoods.

$68 Million for Mental Health Services Statewide –Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget provides record funding to better serve the Department’s mentally ill inmate population. This funding supports 472 additional security positions, 248 health services contract staff, 2 dedicated mental health ombudsman positions and includes $8.1 million for facility upgrades and repairs.

$10 Million for the Residential Mental Health Program at the Wakulla Correctional Institution Annex – Building on last year’s investment, Governor Scott is proposing funding to continue the development of the Residential Mental Health Program at Wakulla CI. Through this unique treatment facility designed for inmates with serious mental impairment, the Department can safely and efficiently treat inmates with unique behavioral health needs and keep them from harming themselves and others.

$6 Million to Ensure Facilities are ADA Compliant – Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget invests funding to continue to make institutions more accessible to inmates with disabilities. This includes funding for additional facility upgrades and critical services for inmates with hearing and visions loss as well as mobility modifications to institutions throughout Florida.

$17 Million for Facility Maintenance and Repair – This year’s budget recommends $17 million for critical maintenance and repair needs in FDC’s facilities. Following two years of historic support, the funding will allow the Department to continue addressing necessary maintenance needs to maintain safe, secure facilities and ensure long-term energy and maintenance savings. FDC maintains the largest facility portfolio in the state. The Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends funding for the Department’s fixed capital outlay priorities, including the repair or replacement of roofs, outdated perimeter systems and fences, and environmental needs such as waste water treatment and sewer repairs.

$4 Million for Enhanced Workforce Education Training – Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget includes funding to expand training and educational programs and additional teaching positions at institutions across the state. Educational credentials and workforce training are critical to job placement and, ultimately, keeping offenders from returning to prison and reducing victimization in Florida’s communities. Research indicates that for every increase in grade level, recidivism decreases by 4% and education for incarcerated adults reduces the risk of post-release re-incarceration by 16%. The funding provides approximately 1,600 additional program seats.

$2 Million for Contraband Interdiction – The budget includes increased technology to intercept dangerous contraband from entering the Department’s secure facilities. Contraband such as cell phones, illegal drugs and weapons pose a serious threat to the safety and security of FDC’s correctional institutions.

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