TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis put pen to paper and gave his final approval on the record $109.9 billion state budget lawmakers passed at the end of the legislative session in March.
During Thursday's news conference in The Villages, DeSantis announced a record amount of line-item vetoes of $3.1 billion in the state budget, which knocked the original approved budget down from $112 billion.
Some of the most notable measures in the budget include pay raises for state workers, recruitment bonuses for police officers and first responders, money for cancer research and a gas tax suspension before the November election.
The budget raises the minimum wage for state workers to $15 per hour and all state workers will get a 5.38% pay raise to account for inflation. It also gives public defenders and assistant state attorneys a $5,000 to $10,000 pay increase, boosts the minimum salary for state law enforcement officers to $50,000 and raises the minimum salary for teachers to at least $47,500.
“This budget invests in the workers who serve our state and her people," Republican Senate President Wilton Simpson said in a previous statement.
On Thursday, DeSantis said this budget includes the state's largest rainy day fund of $3 billion in the state budget.
Last month, First Lady Casey DeSantis joined the governor to announce $100 million of the state's budget will go toward cancer research, a topic that hits close to home for the DeSantis family. DeSantis announced his wife was "cancer-free" in March following months of treatment for breast cancer. DeSantis announced that $1 billion will also go toward increasing the rate for providers who assist people with disabilities, veterans and the elderly.
The governor has also made several stops around the state this year to announce funding for environmental efforts, including $14 million for red tide mitigation, $30 million for manatee rescue efforts and $270 million toward sea level rise resiliency projects.
On the heels of the Texas school shooting last week, DeSantis said the budget includes $400 million for school safety and mental health in schools.
The budget bill hits on many of the priorities laid out by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in his budget proposal made in December, in which he pushed for worker pay raises and a five-month pause on the state's gas tax. He said the gas tax suspension was needed to offset rising gas prices and inflation he blames on President Joe Biden.
Lawmakers instead agreed to suspend the gas tax for one month, in October, and plan to recoup the lost revenue with federal coronavirus stimulus dollars. Republican State Sen. Kelli Stargel said lawmakers chose October, just before the election, because there are typically fewer tourists in the state at that time.
DeSantis, who is running for reelection and is considered to be a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said during Thursday's news conference that this budget will adhere to the people of Florida's needs.
10 Tampa Bay's Andrea Chu and Jordan Highsmith contributed to this report.