Governor DeSantis’ budget includes housing, environment

The budget – a proposal to the Florida legislature for the 2022 session – includes a number of legislative priorities for Florida real estate agents, such as affordable housing assistance.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced his State Budget for Freedom First 2022-23 recommendations Thursday, and his proposal includes a number of Florida Realtors® core legislative priorities, including affordable housing and environmental goals.

The governor’s budget outlines DeSantis’ priorities ahead of the 2022 session of the Florida legislature. It represents its spending priorities and recommendations as to the amount of money that it believes should be allocated to different areas of the state budget, such as education, health, transport, etc.

Lawmakers don’t have to accept DeSantis’ proposals, but its budget often serves as a roadmap for policies and funding amounts. The governor also has the power to veto final budget items, and this gives lawmakers insight into which issues the governor promotes and does not promote.

“It’s a huge, huge budget. It’s a huge deal, ”DeSantis said at a press conference. “This is something that is going to have very positive effects. We are doing it while remaining the lowest per capita tax burden in the country.”

Overall, DeSantis’ proposal is about $ 2 billion less than the current year’s budget, according to its office. Its budget would continue to use federal money to fund some key issues, such as a plan to eliminate the state’s gasoline taxes for five months from July. The federal government allocated this money to offset roughly $ 1 billion in lost gas tax revenue typically used for transportation projects but lost during pandemic lockdowns.

Affordable housing

Governor DeSantis’ budget provides $ 40 million to create a revolving loan program that supports home ownership of the workforce, including down payment and assistance with closing costs. Its proposed program is similar to the Hometown Hero Housing program that Florida Realtors are already working with lawmakers to create next year.

The governor recommends $ 355.5 million to fully fund the state and local government housing trust funds as follows:

  • $ 95 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program
  • $ 220.5 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program

Environment

DeSantis recommends more than $ 980 million for Everglades restoration and water resource protection. That amount would bring the DeSantis administration’s four-year investment to more than $ 3 billion, exceeding the governor’s target of $ 2.5 billion set more than four years ago.

$ 660 million for the restoration of the Everglades includes:

  • $ 86.5 million for restoration strategies
  • $ 372 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)
  • $ 69 million for the EAA reservoir
  • $ 50 million for specific project components designed to achieve the greatest reductions in harmful discharges in the Caloosahatchee and Saint Lucia estuaries
  • $ 83.3 million is included for the Everglades and Northern Estuaries Protection Program

$ 195 million for targeted water quality improvements includes:

  • $ 125 million for the wastewater subsidy program
  • $ 50 million to accelerate projects to meet science-based nutrient reduction targets
  • $ 20 million for critical infrastructure, including sewage and stormwater projects in Biscayne Bay

$ 50 million to restore Florida springs

$ 35 million to improve water quality and fight algal blooms, including blue-green algae and red tide:

  • $ 15 million for innovative technologies and short-term solutions to help prevent, clean up and mitigate harmful algal blooms
  • $ 10.8 million to increase water quality monitoring
  • $ 5 million to help county governments respond to biological debris emergencies associated with red tides
  • $ 4.2 million in funding for the continued support of research activities conducted by the Center for Red Tide Research and long-term collaborative partnerships between the FWC, the University of South Florida College of Marine Science and the Mote Marine Laboratory

$ 40 million for the Alternative Water Supply Grants Program to help communities plan and implement vital conservation, reuse and other alternative water supply projects

$ 100 million for the stabilization, treatment and closure of the Piney Point site

$ 100 million for the Florida Forever program

More than $ 550 million for the Resilient Florida program

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