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Fla. Gov. unveils $74.2 billion spending plan

Rick SCott announcing budget
Posted at 3:49 PM, Jan 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-31 10:58:35-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL/AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott is recommending a $74.2 billion budget for the coming year. It's the largest in Florida history.

The Republican governor unveiled the budget on Thursday that includes a pay raise for school teachers as well as a one-time $1,200 bonus for state workers. The proposal also includes more funding for education and thousands of state worker layoffs.

"As I stressed yesterday, there are two major priorities in this budget - our investment in eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and our support for a teacher pay raise, which comes with an historic investment in K-12 education," Governor Scott said.

Scott is asking lawmakers to give every state teacher a $2,500 pay raise. It would be covered in the request for $1.25 billion in additional spending for K-12 education. The spending would also increase funding to schools by $400 per student to $6,800 per student.

Governor Scott's plan also calls for a 3 percent reduct in the state workforce, eliminating an estimated 3,647 jobs, primarily by privatizing positions in the state prison system.

The governor is also looking to eliminate the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, a move Scott says would save Florida manufacturers an estimated $140 million annually.

"Knocking down this barrier to job creation will create more opportunities for Florida families who are looking for stable jobs they can depend on, especially as many are still on the road to economic recovery - just as we are at the state level," Scott said. "Additionally, the Florida Families First Budget continues to eliminate the business tax by protecting 2,000 more small businesses in our state from having to pay it. We have continued to phase out this tax each year, so businesses can keep more of the money they earn and pass it along to their workers."


While the proposal does include the cost of the mandatory portions of the new Affordable Care Act, it does not include funding for the expansion of Medicaid. Governor Scott says too many questions remain.

"We still have many questions unanswered and we continue to work with the federal government to get more information about how the expansion would impact the cost, quality and access of healthcare services," Scott said. "When I met with Sec. Sebelius, we asked the Department of Health and Human Services to approve two waiver requests that would give our state more flexibility. We expect to get their response to at least one of these requests by Feb. 7th. Their action on these two waiver requests will affect our current Medicaid program and play an important role in how we move forward. I cannot overstate our continued concern with the federal government's ability to pay for new Medicaid recipients over the lifetime of the Medicaid program."

The Governor's Office has posted details of their budget proposal on their website Florida Families First.

State lawmakers will use Scott's proposal as a framework for a final budget that will be passed during the session that starts in March.