Gov. DeSantis lays out $114B budget recommendations on tax breaks, education and environment

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the state's Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida will have enough money and reserves to withstand a national economic downturn while still being able to provide tax breaks, Gov. Ron DeSantis said while releasing his proposed budget Wednesday. The proposal also included permanently getting rid of a sales tax on gas stoves that have become a political rallying cry for Republicans.

DeSantis’ overall spending proposal is nearly $115 billion, but is only a recommendation. The Legislature will approve a final budget during the annual session that begins next month.

But DeSantis has proven he usually gets what he wants from the GOP-dominated Legislature, and he’s likely to see little resistance from House and Senate leaders as the governor builds a case for a possible 2024 presidential run.

And 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 also used the announcement to make political jabs. Republicans have expressed outrage since a study suggested gas stoves could cause health problems and some have questioned whether they should be banned, and DeSantis said liberals are coming after stoves.

“It needs to be done — no tax permanently on gas stoves,” DeSantis said. “They want your gas stove and we’re not going to let that happen.”

DeSantis is also proposing to expand sales tax holidays for school supplies as well as pushing new sales tax holidays on household supplies that cost under $25, dental supplies, toiletries, pet food and on children’s books, toys and athletic equipment.

“This is going to be really, really good for families in Florida,” DeSantis said.

If the Legislature agrees, state workers would get an across the board 5% raise and state jobs that are hard to fill or retain employees would see a bump of 10%.

At this point in the process, the budget will change. DeSantis originally proposed nearly $100 billion for the current fiscal year but eventually signed a $110 billion spending plan. The final product will be approved by lawmakers and DeSantis can veto individual items.

Tax Holidays

The budget proposes four permanent tax cuts and more than 10 temporary tax cuts. The tax holidays include:

  • A permanent sales tax exemption for baby and toddler necessities
  • A permanent sales tax exemption for cribs and strollers
  • A permanent sales tax exemption for over-the-counter pet medications
  • A permanent sales tax exemption for gas stoves
  • Temporary holidays on children’s books, children’s toys, children’s athletic equipment, certain household items and clothing, disaster preparedness items, outdoor recreation items, dental and oral hygiene products, pet food, hand and power tools, energy star appliances, and natural gas.


Key budget proposals in education include:

  • $1 billion, an increase of $200 million, in funding to provide salary increases for new and veteran teachers and other eligible instructional personnel.
  • $1.6 billion in funding for early childhood education, including more than $451 million for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK).
  • Historic $26 billion in funding, of which $14.1 billion is record state funding for the K-12 public school system.
  • $1.5 billion in state operating funding for the Florida College System.
  • $3.1 billion in state operating funding for the State University System.
  • $100 million for the recruitment and retention of highly qualified faculty at state universities.
  • $15 million for the institutional overhaul and restructuring of the New College of Florida.


Gov. DeSantis has also recommended more than $614 million for Everglades restoration projects, including:

  • $58 million for Restoration Strategies.
  • $182.2 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).
  • $86.3 million for the C-43 West Basin Reservoir Storage Project.
  • $152 million for the EAA Reservoir to continue the momentum of this critical project to reduce harmful discharges and help send more clean water south of the Everglades.
  • $50 million is included for specific project components designed to achieve the greatest reductions in harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries as identified in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project Draft Integrated Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement dated August 2020.
  • $86.1 million is included for the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program.

The Framework for Freedom Budget also includes $370 million for targeted water quality improvements to achieve significant, meaningful, and measurable nutrient reductions in key waterbodies across the state and to implement the initial recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force.

Affordable Housing

The proposal also provides $402.7 million to fully fund the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds:

  • $121.7 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program.
  • $281 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP).

The Framework for Freedom Budget also provides $100 million for the second year of the Hometown Heroes Housing Program. This program makes homeownership affordable for eligible frontline community workers such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military or veterans.

Public Safety

DeSantis recommends $124.3 million to provide salary increases across various public safety agencies, including:

  • $107.2 million to increase the Department of Corrections’ (FDC) base rate of pay to $23 per hour for specified Correctional Officer, Correctional Probation Officer, and Inspector positions;
  • $1.8 million to provide a four percent increase to Special Agents and Law Enforcement positions within the Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);
  • $6.8 million for special pay adjustments based on salary ranges for all sworn law enforcement officers within FDLE, Department of Legal Affairs (DLA), State Attorneys, and State Courts (SCS); and
  • $8.5 million for an increase for years of service for sworn law enforcement officers within FDLE, DLA, State Attorneys, and SCS.

All of the recommendations would have to be passed by the legislature in April and signed into law by DeSantis.

To read the budget highlights click HERE.

To read the Freedom First Budget FAQs, click HERE.

About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.