Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget includes $1 billion in tax cuts

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 6:35 AM

  • Photo via Rick Scott Facebook page
Florida Gov. Rick Scott released his $79.3 billion spending plan for the next year Monday and it’s pretty dense.

The budget calls for $1 billion in spending cuts, including a $770 million cut that eliminates income taxes on manufacturing and retail and a $76.9 million cut that eliminates taxes on manufacturing machinery and equipment. The plan also sets aside $250 million for the Florida Enterprise Fund, which is money used to expand programs to recruit companies to the state.

“I know there will be some critics who say we cannot afford to cut taxes by $1 billion while also creating a one-time $250 million trust fund for economic incentives,” Scott says in a statement. “But I want to be clear on the numbers. Our state’s economy is growing by over 2.7 percent, which means our state general revenues are up by $1.3 billion. In fact, total general revenues exceed this year’s recurring budget by $3.4 billion.”

The Miami Herald reports state economists have disputed the $1.3 billion budget surplus.

Scott’s budget also increased education funding by $507.3 million to a historic high of $20.2 billion, though much of that increase would come from higher property tax bills because of rising property values, not extra funding.

The budget slashes the state workforce by a net elimination of 864 full-time jobs, especially from Florida’s health and environmental agencies. Scott cut 718 jobs from the Department of Health, 152 jobs from the Department of Environmental Protection and 11 jobs from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The budget does add 472 jobs in the Department of Corrections. 

State lawmakers still have to negotiate and approve a budget in their next session, which starts in January. 

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