Today was SUPPOSED to be the last day of the legislative session

The Florida legislature did today what Historic City News reporters expected they would do.  Unable to agree on a budget to be presented to Governor Ron DeSantis for approval, they gave themselves an extension, pushing the end of the session to Monday.  Despite all the catfights, photo opportunities, pomp and circumstances, approving an annual budget is the only thing the state senators and representatives are required to do.

But this year, lawmakers were unable to reach deals on dozens of items as the session headed toward the finish line.  It couldn’t quite get it done in time to officially wrap things up today.

Although the session was slated to end today, it will be extended until Monday, which gives negotiators a few more days to get things over the finish line. The budget must be wrapped up three days before the final vote.

So, do we have a budget? We do! (Basically). House and Senate negotiators came together yesterday on a $112.1 billion budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. That’s a 10.4% increase from this year.

What are the next steps? The budget was placed on members’ desks at 1:53 p.m yesterday, kicking off the 72-hour clock. During that period, lawmakers and the public can review the documents, so everyone knows what’s in the plan. After approval, the budget will go to the governor, who has line-item veto power. The budget will take effect on July 1, 2022.

What are some of the highlights?

  • Lawmakers included $400 million for broadband expansion
  • Almost $2 billion included for educational construction and maintenance projects
  • There’s $100 million to help teachers, health care, law enforcement and others to buy houses
  • Included $29.6 million to deal with citrus greening
  • Contains sales tax holidays for a variety of items
  • Pauses collection of the state gas tax during the month of October