Florida lawmakers are expected to vote sometime Saturday afternoon on what ended up being a $91.1 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. According to the News Service of Florida, the budget was distributed at 1:32 p.m. Wednesday, triggering the start of a constitutionally required 72-hour “cooling off” period before the House and Senate can vote on it.
House and Senate negotiators finalized details of the spending plan Tuesday night, but it took until Wednesday afternoon to compile and complete the 448-page budget. The $91.1 billion figure is a bit less than the $91.3 billion plan proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but higher than the House’s initial $89.9 billion proposal and the Senate’s $90.3 billion proposal.
The budget package does exceed the Governor’s call for environmental spending. It includes $322.6 million for Lake Okeechobee restoration and $33 million in new funds for the Florida Forever land preservation program. While that is down from $100 million wanted by many, it was noted that more than $100 million will be available for Florida Forever this next fiscal year due to the fact dollars from the current year will be left over.
The 2019 Florida Legislative Session was scheduled to end Friday, but beings the budget was not finalized until Wednesday afternoon, it forced lawmakers to extend the session to Saturday.