TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With the start of the 2023 regular Florida legislative session approaching on April 10, Gov. Ron DeSantis released a budget proposal on Wednesday that includes more than a billion of dollars in tax relief.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis offered up a budget plan exceeding $114 billion

  • The proposal is stuffed with sales tax holidays as relief to consumers

  • The plan also proposes pay increases for state workers and more migrant flight funds

  • The Florida Legislature must approve the budget, but the governor can veto individual items

DeSantis calls his proposed budget, which totals more than $114 billion and is $4 billion over last year’s, “a framework for freedom,” and said it includes new and expanded tax breaks — including an additional $1.5 billion in consumer relief, on top of the $500 million Toll Relief Program which began on Jan. 1. 

The governor is proposing:

  • Two back-to-school sales tax holiday periods instead of one
  • Temporary tax breaks on pet food and over-the-counter pet medications
  • A permanent tax break on baby supplies like food, diapers, strollers and more
  • New sales holidays on household supplies that cost less than $25, including dental supplies, toiletries, toys and athletic equipment
  • An additional $12 million in migrant flights

“This is going to be really, really good for families in Florida,” DeSantis said. “If you do all this stuff — if a family commutes, if they have young kids and all this stuff — you’re talking potentially thousands of dollars in savings when all this is said and done.”

Other programs and projects funded in the budget include education, the environment and road reparis. 

If the Legislature agrees, state workers would get an across-the-board 5% raise, state jobs that are hard to fill or retain employees would see a bump of 10% and correctional officers’ pay would be increased to $23 per hour.

Right now, however, his plan is just a proposal. In the end, legislators could make adjustments over the next few months as they work to secure more money for their home districts before approving a final budget. DeSantis can veto individual items.

The governor touted his budget as a model of state resilience.

“If we were here four years ago and people said that we would be able to propose what we are proposing today, most people probably would’ve said that wouldn’t have been possible,” DeSantis said. “But if you would have told them everything that has happened in the four years, those people would have said it definitely wouldn’t have been possible.”

Florida’s budget is operating at a surplus.

While DeSantis said he expects bad news for the national economy that will affect the state, he said Florida is in good shape.

“When you have $15.7 billion in reserves, when you have $3.4 billion in your rainy day fund, you are prepared to be able to weather those types of storms,” DeSantis said. “We are built to be able to withstand that.”

DeSantis attributed the increased budget plan and the state's surplus to good stewardship.

It also is supported by some federal COVID-19 relief funds remaining in the coffers.

Content from the Associated Press is included in the report.