Florida Leads the Nation

Statewide Overview and Taxes

Florida is leading among states as our nation reemerges from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike other states that engaged in mass lockdowns and closed down their schools and businesses, Governor DeSantis allowed science and data to drive informed policies that prioritized our state’s most vulnerable and put Seniors First, while protecting the right to earn a living, opening schools and keeping our economy and society functioning.

Although the public health emergency caused declines in revenue collection in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years, as well as revisions to projected future revenue collections, the policies of Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration have led to Florida beating expectations for revenues, jobs and economic growth.

Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida continues to outpace the nation in job growth and closed out 2020 with eight consecutive months of job growth, gaining over 748,000 private sector jobs from May through December. Florida’s future remains bright and continues to lead the nation in many policy areas.

The following fiscally responsible budget protects taxpayer dollars while being mindful that the state is still engaged in an all-hands-on-deck response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Accordingly, this budget ensures the State maintains significant funding in reserves, including General Revenue, while safeguarding our K-12 education system and supporting our teachers, as well as continuing our commitment to Florida’s environmental resources.

The Governor’s total recommendation for the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget is $96.6 billion. The General Revenue portion is $35.8 billion. Florida’s total reserves are $6.6 billion more than 6 percent of the total recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, leaving ample resources for unforeseen expenditures related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 hurricane season.

$2.6 billion more than half of the $4.3 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2020-21, is for various expenditures related to the COVID-19 pandemic response or impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic on Floridians.

Budget Savings

The Governor’s budget makes strategic reductions of more than $1 billion over two years, of which
$876.3 million is in General Revenue and $228.3 million is in trust funds, and a reduction of 169 positions. Notable savings contained in the Governor’s budget include: Administrative and operational efficiencies of $408.2 million Debt service savings of $40.8 million Contract and lease savings are $16 million Bonded savings are $64.2 million Medicaid and KidCare savings due to FMAP enhancement of $554.7 million; Workload reduction of $16.5 million; and Reduced excess budget authority of $4.3 million.

Florida Reserves

$2.2 billion in unallocated General Revenue $1.7 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund $1.7 billion in unallocated Trust Funds $1.0 billion in Tobacco reserves $6.6 billion in Total Reserves

Florida Retirement System

Pension Unfunded Liability – The unfunded actuarial liability (UAL) of the Florida Retirement System (FRS) Defined Benefit Program amounted to $36.0 billion on June 30, 2020. Based on an actuarial liability of $200.3 billion and an actuarial value of assets of $164.3 billion, the program is 82.0 percent funded as of June 30, 2020.

The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2021-22 recommended budget includes $52.9 million to implement the recommendations of the independent actuary and fully fund the recommended contributions to the UAL for state employees. This helps Florida continue to have one of the best funded pension plans of the largest states in the nation.

Taxpayer Savings

Governor DeSantis is committed to continuing to ease Floridians’ tax burden. The budget proposes to cut taxes by $65 million. Florida’s per capita state tax burden of $1,917 is currently the fourth lowest among all states. Governor DeSantis believes in keeping taxes low to help Florida’s future generations. The Governor’s $65 million tax cut package includes funding for:

An 8-day Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday to Save Florida Families $56 Million The holiday covers clothing up to $60 school supplies up to $15, and computers priced at $1,000 or less A 10-day Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday to Save Florida Families
$9 Million -
The holiday covers items needed during disasters including generators priced at $750 or less