Florida House, Senate Pass Own Budget Proposals


The Florida House and Senate have each passed HB 5001, known as Florida’s budget entitled “General Appropriations Act.” The total amount in Florida’s budget for the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year is $105 billion in the House version, and $108 billion in the Senate version.

HB 5001 was passed by the Florida House Wednesday, and the Florida Senate quickly approved it yesterday. Notably, the budget would approve increases in overall funding for public schools and a pay raise of 5.3% for state workers, including a minimum $15 per hour wage for public servants.

Florida State Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) was one of the chief voices for the minimum wage increase.

“We are also investing $1 billion to ensure the Floridians who either work for the state or contract with the state, and spend each day educating, protecting and caring for others in our communities, earn at least $15 per hour,” Simpson said in a statement. “I am thrilled to see the Senate lead the charge to implement a $15 per hour wage for those who serve the public, from our cafeteria workers to those who care for our elderly, well in advance of the constitutional deadline.”

On Twitter, the Florida Senate touted the approval of HB 5001, highlighting the effort to improve Florida’s infrastructure, investments in water quality projects, and K-12 student funding.

The House version is slashing approximately $200 million away from 12 local school districts who defied DeSantis’ mask mandate ban last year. The idea for the cuts stemmed from Florida State Representative Randy Fine (R-Brevard County), who said all of Florida’s school districts will see funding increases, but those 12 will not see as much.

“It is intended to reward the 55 school districts, the overwhelming majority of which followed our state law and respected the rights of parents over the past year,” Fine said.

Florida State Representative Joe Geller (D-Aventura) voiced his opposition to Fine’s proposal.

“That’s $72 million from Miami-Dade, $32 million from Broward, the counties I represent,” said Geller. “I know it’s supposedly targeted at bureaucrats. Bureaucrats who oversee anything and everything from school safety to special education to the needs of our students.”

DeSantis, earlier this week, indicated his support for the House’s proposal to cut funding for the select school districts.

“Thanks to Speaker Sprowls, Representative Fine, and the House of Representatives for heeding my call to protect students and teachers from accountability measures affecting union-controlled politicians and bureaucrats who defied Florida law by force-masking kids,” DeSantis said on Twitter. “Most students didn’t want to wear masks in the first place! Let’s also give parents recourse for harms imposed on their kids due to this defiance. They should get compensated for academic, social, and emotional problems caused by these policies.”

The Florida House and Senate will begin a budget conference in the coming days to reconcile differences between each budget.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Sen. Wilton Simpson” by Wilton Simpson. Background Photo “Florida State Capitol” by Michael Rivera CC BY-SA 3.0.


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