Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future Budget

Introduction from Governor Rick Scott

When I made the decision to run for Governor in 2010, a lot of people doubted that a businessman who had never been in politics could cut taxes and get our state back to work. For years, politicians in Tallahassee had run our economy into the ground through tax increases, frivolous spending and a lack of focus on job creation. I have spent every day since taking office fighting to get Florida on the right track by turning back the harmful policies of past politicians and I am proud of the work we have accomplished to secure Florida’s future by creating an environment where Floridians of all ages have the tools they need to succeed in our state.

In the seven years that I have served as Governor, we have consistently invested record funding in what’s most important to Florida families. Our hard work for Florida families has made Florida a leader in job creation, education, transportation and environmental protection. Turning around Florida’s economy would not have been possible without our unrelenting efforts to cut taxes and encouraging business to thrive here in the Sunshine State. Since I took office, we have cut taxes 75 times saving Floridians more than $7.5 billion, paid down $9 billion in state debt and made government more efficient to save even more taxpayer money. These accomplishments have helped secure future success and prosperity, and have made it possible for more than 1.3 million Floridians to find a job so they can support their families.

Our Securing Florida’s Future budget advances Florida’s success by securing the resources and funding needed to continue growing our booming economy, keep our neighborhoods safe and families healthy, build upon our world-class education system and make sure our pristine environment is healthy and well protected for generations to come. Our balanced budget also doubles down on our goals of continuing to cut taxes and state debt.

This year, Florida faced the largest and most devastating storm we have seen in decades when Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key the morning of September 10th. In the face of this adversity, Floridians from Key West to Pensacola showed true resolve and stood together to help their neighbors through preparation, response and recovery. Florida has the nation’s best emergency management professionals and our Securing Florida’s Future budget makes critical investments to support our state emergency management for future storms while aiding in our current recovery from Hurricane Irma. This hurricane season, we also saw the incredible, life-saving work of our law enforcement officers. Earlier this year, I was proud to propose and work with the Legislature to approve a five percent pay raise for all sworn state law enforcement officers. Now, to build on that investment, I am recommending $30 million for Florida’s state law enforcement agencies to use for additional pay raises. Florida’s state law enforcement officers bravely put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and they deserve to be recognized for their great work.

We’ve also prioritized spending on our environment by recommending $3.8 billion to preserve and protect Florida iconic natural resources. This robust proposal includes record funding for our springs, state parks, beaches and the Everglades. We’ve also advanced our commitment to fix the federal Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Earlier this year, I became the first governor in Florida history to approve state funding to address needed repairs to the federal Dike. Now, I’m proud to go even further and recommend an additional $50 million investment of state funds to expedite these critical repairs. I am proud to have secured the commitment of President Trump to accelerate this federal project, which will protect communities and reduce harmful water discharges that have plagued our communities. For decades, Congress has failed to address this problem, so we stepped up and found solutions.

My final recommended budget also prioritizes our students and teachers. For the sixth year in a row, we are recommending historic state funding for K-12 education in Florida. The future success of a child is incredibly important and we are thankful every day for the hard work and selfless dedication of Florida’s teachers. This funding will allow every student in Florida the ability to have the tools they need to be successful in the classroom. And to support our teachers who are heroes to the students they teach, we are recommending $63 million in teacher supply grants. Far too often, teachers have to dip into their own pockets to buy supplies for their classroom and we must fix this. These grants will provide an additional $100 for every teacher to ensure they have the tools they need to help our students.

Finally, to return more money to Florida taxpayers, we are proposing $180 million in tax cuts. This includes rolling back fee increases for Floridians when they are obtaining and renewing their driver’s licenses. We are also proposing a 10-day back to school tax holiday so students can be prepared for the school year without the burden of sales tax, and three weeks of tax-free disaster-supply holidays so Floridians can replenish their preparedness kits after 2017’s active hurricane season.

As I’ve traveled our state over the past seven years, I haven’t met anyone that wants to pay more in taxes and that’s why we need to make sure that all of our hard work to cut taxes and keep Florida’s economy booming isn’t undone by future politicians. To prevent future politicians from unfairly raising taxes, I am fighting for an amendment to Florida’s Constitution that would impose a super-majority requirement on any vote of the Florida Legislature to raise a tax or fee. It’s only fair to Florida families that raising a tax or fee is made harder. Requiring a super-majority vote in our state’s constitution will ensure future generations can continue to benefit from Florida’s low taxes for years to come.

As I enter my last legislative session as Governor, my commitment to every Floridian is that I will fight every day for what’s best for Florida families. I will spend every minute of every one of my remaining 419 days as your Governor fighting to make Florida an even better place to raise a family, receive a top-notch education, get a great job and live in a safe community. My recommended budget represents years of fighting to do what’s right for Florida families and while we’ve seen incredible success, we will keep fighting every day to secure Florida’s future for every Florida family.


Governor Rick Scott's Signature

Governor Rick Scott