Florida Legislative Session Concludes With Balanced Budget, Half Billion Dollars In Tax Cuts
By Space Coast Daily // March 14, 2016
final 2014 Florida legislative update
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Last week, we finished the ninth and final week of the 2016 Session and adjourned Sine Die on Friday with a balanced budget and over a half a billion dollars in tax cuts for Floridians.
This year’s $82.3 billion budget is fiscally responsible and prioritizes funding in the best interest of all Floridians.
In this budget, we continued to invest in our students’ success by providing a historic level of education funding per student, exceeding the previous high in 2007-08 by over $52 per student.
To help protect our precious natural resources, we included a reliable and dedicated funding source for restoring the Everglades that reaches over $203 million this year.
We also appropriated $21.5 million for muck removal in the Indian River Lagoon. Further, our budget includes $76 million to promote our state’s vital tourism industry through increased marketing and advertising and $19.5 million for Space Florida to further bolster Florida’s aerospace industry.
In addition, we maintain $3 billion in reserves because government must responsibly plan for the future, just like Florida families must do.
Additionally, I was pleased the Legislature passed over half a billion dollars in tax cuts this Session. This year’s tax cut package is aimed at helping grow Florida’s economy and provide needed tax relief to our families.
Some of the major components of the tax cut package include $428 million in property tax relief for Florida’s homeowners, a three-day Back to School sales tax holiday, the elimination of sales tax on purchasing manufacturing equipment, and the elimination of sales tax on food and drink sold to fellow members at veterans organizations.
By cutting $1 billion in taxes over the last two years, we will continue to grow our economy and create more jobs for Floridians.
I am very proud of all of the work we accomplished this Session. We passed:
• comprehensive water policy legislation to address our water quality and supply challenges in a statewide manner and the Legacy Florida initiative to establish dedicated funding for Everglades and springs restoration;
• bold education reforms that establish the emerging preeminence designation to further bolster our world-class higher education system, make college more affordable, codify university and college performance funding in law, increase school choice options, encourage school districts to adopt uniform policies, and expand Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts for students with disabilities;
• legislation that expands access to healthcare and attacks cost drivers to make care more affordable;
• strong anti-corruption reforms;
• Death penalty reform to ensure this tool remains at our disposal to punish our most violent criminals;
• bills to make Florida the most veteran friendly state in the nation;
• bills to protect life and religious liberty and much more.
I believe we had a very productive and successful legislative session that will result in a stronger Florida for years to come.
The end of the 2016 Legislative Session marks my final regular Session as your State Representative. On Thursday, I was honored to have my portrait unveiled and hung on the wall of the House chamber, where it will rotate until it is retired in 100 years.
Thank you for the honor of serving you over the past eight years.
Brevard County has been through a lot in that time. When I came into office, the space shuttle program was winding down, which meant thousands of people in our community lost their jobs. Today, we have weathered the storm and come back strong.
It has been remarkable to watch our turnaround. It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve you in the Florida House and represent the place I grew up and to be the first Speaker from Brevard County.
I will continue to provide you with periodic updates over the next few months, and as always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we may be of assistance to you. Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your State Representative, and may God bless you, your families, and the great State of Florida.
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