Thursday, both the Florida House and Senate unanimously passed their versions of a record state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The proposed House budget, at $91.37 billion, is about $1.4 billion less than the Senate’s $92.83 billion spending plan. Both proposals top the $90.98 billion budget for the current fiscal year.
According to the News Service of Florida, the proposed House budget is allocating only $20 million for Florida Forever, while the Senate’s proposal allows $125 million for the program.
Governor Ron DeSantis made a priority of environmental funding, requesting $625 million for Everglades restoration and other water-related projects, but both the House and Senate budget proposals would exceed that request. The Senate is proposing $639 million for water-related projects, of which $322 million would be for ongoing Everglades restoration efforts. The House would spend $646.8 million, with $318.3 million dedicated to the Everglades.
So now, the appropriations chairs and legislative leadership will begin the process of appointing a conference committee to work on a final budget to pass before the legislative session ends March 13th. The 2020-2021 fiscal year starts July 1.