State Budgets 2012: Florida



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened January 10, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012


Official budget documents, 2012:

4/17/12: Scott signs $70 billion state budget after $142 million in vetoes

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed what he called an “education budget” that adds $1 billion in public school spending and allows higher tuition at state colleges and universities.

Scott also vetoed nearly $143 million in line-item projects championed by fellow Republicans in the Legislature that he said did not benefit the state as a whole or weren’t worth the investment. He vetoed grants for autism, Alzheimer’s care, disadvantaged youths, clinics, courthouse, road and seaport improvements, the Florida Aquarium in Tampa and a Bay of Pigs museum in Miami.

The $70 billion budget includes a 5 percent tuition increase at state colleges.

Read more: Miami Herald

4/14/12: Budget watchers unveil annual 'turkey' list; urge Scott vetoes

Florida TaxWatch on Friday announced its yearly list of budget turkeys, calling on Gov. Rick Scott to veto 143 budget line items totaling $150 million in hometown projects.

Scott is expected to announce his budget vetoes next week. Last year Scott vetoed 83 percent of the $203 million in turkeys identified by TaxWatch, said Dominic Calabro, the organization's president.

Read more: Tampa Bay Times

3/28/12: Florida governor signs tax cut and jobs bills

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed into law the main elements of his "jobs agenda" for this year, which includes another small cut in the corporate income tax and changes in the state's unemployment compensation program.

Scott also signed a measure to scale back the size of an unemployment tax increase due this year for nearly 460,000 businesses. The tax will still go up, but not as much as once anticipated.

Read more: Bloomberg Businessweek

3/16/12: Governor Scott Goes 3 for 3 on Top Legislative Priorities

"Last week was a great victory for all Floridians. The Florida House and Senate passed all three of my top priorities. They are adding $1 billion to the education budget, passing my 2012 job creation and economic development package and reforming auto accident fraud. I would like to thank everyone involved in helping achieve these goals."

Read more: Governor Scott's website

3/10/12: Legislature approves $70 billion budget

The Legislature approved a budget late Friday in a final spasm of chaos as the Supreme Court rejected a map of Senate districts and maverick senators killed a controversial education bill.

In a 15-hour day, lawmakers sent Gov. Rick Scott a $70 billion budget that creates a 12th state university in Lakeland, closes six prisons and eliminates another 4,400 jobs, nearly 4 percent of the state’s work force.

Read more: The Miami Herald

3/8/12: Florida Democrats Bash State Budget Plan for Next Year

Florida Democrats are sending a blistering message to Republican legislative leaders about next year's budget deal and calling on Gov. Rick Scott to veto it.

Democrats call the $70 billion spending plan a reckless pork-barrel budget that continues an assault on education in Florida.

They're blasting the Legislature's decision to cut $300 million from the budgets of Florida's 11 state universities. They say that will likely cause double-digit tuition increases for students and force schools to cut services.

They say $840 million of new money for K-12 education does not restore the $1.3 billion cut last year.

Read more: FCN

3/7/12: Tourism is a big winner in final budget

Florida's tourism industry is one of the big winners in the final state budget.

Although the state Legislature cuts funding for everything from hospitals to universities, its roughly $70 billion spending plan includes a huge boost for spending on tourism advertising. Visit Florida, the state's publicly subsidized marketing agency, would get $54 million — a roughly 50 percent increase from a year ago.

Read more: Orlando Sentinel

3/1/12: Legislative leaders now weighing end game for session

With different versions of the budget having cleared both the House and Senate and two crucial court rulings looming, legislative leaders have begun gaming out the endgame for the 2012 session.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, suggested Monday the end of the session could hinge on three factors:

The success of budget negotiations currently under way between House and Senate leaders. Those initial agreements on allocations for each area of state spending have to be hammered out before more detailed negotiations can begin; lawmakers have about a week to strike a deal.

Read more: Florida Courier

2/15/12: Fla. Senate panel passes nearly $71 billion budget

The Florida Senate on Wednesday charged ahead with a nearly $71 billion budget, despite complaints from university students, hospital lobbyists and even some Republicans in the House about some of the decisions contained in the spending plan.

The Senate Budget Committee voted unanimously for the budget proposal after a marathon all-day session that focused primarily on the deep cuts the budget has in store for the state’s 11 public universities. The legislation also cuts spending on hospitals, limits emergency room visits for poor patients, and eliminates thousands of state worker jobs.

Read more: The Gainesville Sun

2/14/12: State Senate proposes $87 million cut in mental health, substance-abuse programs

Grappling with the need to close a $2 billion budget gap, a Senate proposal would make deep cuts in funding for adult mental health and substance-abuse programs, and entirely eliminate support for some of them.

Read more: Miami Herald

2/13/ 12: Florida Budget for 2012/2013: $2 to 3.5 Billion in the hole

Depending who you talk to about Florida’s budget shortfall in 2012, you will get different answers. All of the state economists will agree that there is going to be another year of cuts, and not enough money to go around. This is the sixth year in a row that Florida’s budget will not be balanced, and the economy will be struggling.

Governor Scott and legislators are aware that the state has hit a wall in terms of tax collections. The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference has been forced to downgrade the state revenue forecast by $600 million this year and almost $1 billion for 2012. The budget hole was initially projected to be at $2 billion, but on November 15, 2011, it was raised to $3.5 billion.

Read more: Orlando Advocate

2/9/12: House Passes $69.2 Billion Budget for 2012-13

With a month left in the regular session, the Florida House approved a $69.2 billion budget Thursday that increases Pre-K-12 education by 9.5 percent while bumping up college tuition and reducing hospital payments.

Expect there to be serious conference negotiations ahead as the Senate continues to hammer out its financial plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Read more: Sunshine State News

12/8/11: Gov. Scott's budget: Deep spending cuts, but more money for education

Gov. Rick Scott wants more money for schools, but he's proposing $4.6 billion in spending cuts for other parts of the state budget to get it.

Scott on Wednesday rolled out spending recommendations that include $1 billion in new money for K-12 education.

His proposal for the budget year beginning July 1 totals $66.4 billion.

Read more:

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles


Official Budget Documents, 2011:

5/11/2011: Fla. pilot program to cut Medicaid costs raises new questions

Florida is currently conducting a “a five-year pilot program designed to test whether” the state “can reduce spending on Medicaid…by largely turning the program over to for-profit HMOs. Success would mean getting a handle on one of the fastest-growing and most vexing expenditures confronting states.”

Yet, it remains “unclear whether the pilot…has achieved that,” because some experts “say any savings have come at a high cost: the quality of care.” Therefore, some observers are very concerned about “the legislature’s decision last week to essentially expand the pilot statewide, which will be carefully watched by other financially strapped states across the nation.”

Read more: Washington Post

5/9/2011: In Huge Year in Health, Winners and Losers

In any other year, a historic overhaul of the Medicaid system would have overshadowed every health issue in the Legislature.

But when lawmakers went home early Saturday morning, Medicaid might not have even been the noisiest health-related debate of the 2011 legislative session.

Lawmakers passed a nearly $70 billion budget that included deep cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and dozens of other health programs. They also squabbled for weeks before approving a last-day deal to try to combat pill mills. And they spent hours arguing about issues such as abortion and medical malpractice......[more]

Read more:

5/7/2011: Florida Budget for 2011-2012: Threaten Worst, Take Step Back

By the time a series of secret budget negotiations were finished Tuesday, the cuts had dwindled to $308 million, mostly in property taxes. The state's corporate tax was cut $30 million, far from the total of nearly $2 billion.

Cynics will say that Scott's big tax-cut stick was intended to make the heavy spending cuts needed to balance the budget look relatively moderate. He says he is simply spreading cuts to the corporate tax over seven years.

The $69.7 billion budget contains substantial reductions in vital areas — such as Medicaid reimbursements for hospitals and nursing homes — and cuts funding for public school districts across the state by $1.35 billion.

The 2011-2012 budget, tacitly endorsed by Scott, is nearly $1 billion less than the current budget. The new budget, which takes effect July 1, is about $4 billion less than the largest budget of $74 billion in 2006-2007.

Read more: The

5/6/2011: Florida Budget Woes Mean Environmental Cuts

Florida's Legislature wraps up its annual budget session this week. Like other states with tight budgets, Florida is setting new spending priorities.

Environmental protection is one area that's seeing big cuts.

Despite progress on the project, a new threat has emerged to Everglades restoration. It can be found 500 miles away in Tallahassee, where Florida's governor and Legislature are grappling with a $4 billion budget shortfall. As Gov. Rick Scott says, the shortfall is forcing them to make tough choices in many areas — including protecting the environment.

Read more: NPR

5/5/2011: Gov. Scott buckling down for end of first session

One of bills on Scott's radar in the final days is Medicaid reform. Scott wasn't too specific this morning about what he was looking in the Medicaid bill, saying he wants "good access" for those who qualify and goals and measurements for care providers.

"Long-term my focus is to make sure we get a block grant out of the federal government," Scott said. "Because I know without all the strings the federal government puts on the Medicaid program, we can do a much better job of taking care of Floridians."

Read more: Tampa

5/4/2011: Medicaid hospital rates cut 12%

In a critical piece of a budget deal Tuesday, Florida lawmakers will cut hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid payments to hospitals and nursing homes --- but will spare some other big-ticket health programs.

Combined, hospitals and nursing homes face about $700 million in cuts. That includes a 6.5 percent Medicaid rate cut for nursing homes .....

Hospitals will get hit with a 12 percent rate cut, totaling $510 million. But hospitals were relieved that lawmakers did not cut the Medically Needy and MEDS-AD programs, which serve people who have costly health issues but don’t qualify for regular Medicaid benefits.

Also, negotiators agreed to avoid cuts in adult mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs. At one point, senators proposed eliminating almost all funding for such programs.

Read more: Florida Health News

5/3/2011: Lawmakers agree on $68 billion budget, tax cuts

n secret talks, top legislators and Gov. Rick Scott hatched a $68-billion budget deal involving a rather simple trade: tax cuts for hometown spending.

So lawmakers Tuesday quickly agreed to spend, spend, spend about $156-million on their hometown districts in projects that fund county health departments, a regatta center, meals for seniors, college buildings, a botanical garden and veterans’ programs.

Still, there were big budget losers: Hospitals statewide will face a $510-million cut, or 12 percent, in Medicaid reimbursements. Public school funding is down by 8-percent or $540 per student. Everglades restoration money is just enough to keep re-plumbing the River of Grass, and thousands of state jobs are being eliminated.

Legislators focused on the positive: level funding for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs. The catastrophically sick in the Meds AD and Medically Needy programs won’t face cuts, either, and taxpayers will get a small property tax cut.

"I can’t imagine a more difficult budget to work through," Senate Budget Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said of the need to cut spending by $4-billion to cope with weak tax collections.

The full picture of the budget, all of the cuts and hometown projects, won’t become clear until Wednesday, by which time the phone-book thick budget will be printed on members’ desks.

Through it all, Scott will get to sign a budget with tax cuts and business incentives that total about $308 million – one-eighth of the $2.4 billion he requested.

Read more: Miami Herald

5/3/2011: Budget slashes compulsive gambling funds as it helps dog tracks

As Florida legislators prepare to pass bills to let greyhound tracks stop racing dogs and start installing slot-machines look alikes, they also slashed $1 million from compulsive gambling prevention in their budget.

The $68 billion budget includes $400,000 sought by the gambling industry to fund a study on the impact of bringing Las Vegas casino resorts to Florida.

Read more: Tampa

5/2/2011: Final week of Florida legislative session gets underway

In this, the final week of the legislative session, things are moving fast and furious.

One of the session’s most highly anticipated — and controversial — bills is scheduled for discussion in the Senate Monday, with the chamber taking up SB 2040, which addresses illegal immigration.

The House is scheduled to vote on a proposed Constitutional amendment that would prohibit any law from compelling people to buy health insurance. The likely approval means Florida voters will consider the measure in the November 2012 general election.

The proposed amendment is a direct attack on the federal health care law, which requires people to have health insurance of face a tax penalty. It is the brain child of Republican Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat in 2012.

Read more: Miami Herald

4/29/2011: Feds: Fla. can't expand Medicaid pilot statewide

Federal health officials told Florida lawmakers Thursday they can't privatize Medicaid statewide for now, saying they need to see specific details of how the state plans to change the program, which provide health insurance to mostly low-income residents.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a letter to Florida health officials saying the agency will work with the state to approve a waiver by June 30. However, the agency can't approve expansion of the Florida's current five-county pilot program because the Legislature hasn't agreed on the changes that would be made if it went statewide. The current bill is stalled in the Senate.

Read more: Miami Herald

4/27/2011: In Florida, H.M.O.’s Would Treat Medicaid Patients

A crucial experiment in the future of Medicaid is playing out in Florida, where both houses of the Legislature are vying to find ways to drastically cut costs, manage care and reduce waste and fraud.

Relying loosely on a five-year-old pilot program to shift care to H.M.O.’s, Florida lawmakers are poised to scrap the traditional model in which the state pays doctors for each service they perform. Instead, almost all of Florida’s Medicaid recipients would be funneled into state-authorized, for-profit H.M.O.’s or networks run by hospitals or doctors. H.M.O.’s or networks would also manage the long-term care of the elderly, shifting them away from nursing homes and leading to an expansion of in-home care....

The Florida legislation is being closely watched by other states as they tackle the rapid growth of enrollment and the cost of care. Because Florida has three million Medicaid patients and a high number of uninsured people, a swift jump into managed care would be significant. And while many states use managed care for Medicaid users in one form or other, the Florida proposals stand out because they would set possible limits on services, giving the state and H.M.O.’s the right to deny some benefits that are now offered to patients. This would require federal permission.

Read more: NY Times

4/26/2011: No budget deal as Senate chief says he threw House proposal 'in the trash'

"A squabble over spending turned tense Monday when the Florida Senate's budget chairman accused the leader of the Florida House of negotiating in bad faith and attempting to hamstring Senate President Mike Haridopolos' run for U.S. Senate. At stake: more than $67 billion in spending that affects everything from school kids to criminals to the sick and elderly.

Read more: Florida Times-Union

4/25/2011: Alzheimer's projects in the middle of budget negotiations

Amid across-the-board budget chopping this year, a local Alzheimer's disease care organization could be getting some state dollars back in 2011-12.

Read more: TC Palm

4/14/2011: Stalled budget talks may mean extended legislative session

House and Senate leaders made it official Wednesday: Budget talks have unraveled between the two sides.

With the legislature mostly shutting down Friday for a weeklong Easter-Passover holiday, serious negotiations between the House and Senate will not occur until lawmakers return.

Read more: Palm Beach Post

4/11/2011: Medicaid fight brings out big-time lobbyists

The GOP-led Legislature came to Tallahassee this spring determined to revamp the state's Medicaid program. The revamp has become the big-ticket item of the session with health maintenance organizations, hospitals and other medical providers paying for literally hundreds of expensive lobbyists to try to protect — and enhance — their interests in the $20 billion program.

Read more: Sun Sentinel

4/8/2011 Senate prez: SunPass discount won't get cut

Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Friday his chamber was abandoning a budget-cutting plan to scrap the discount motorists get on tolls through SunPass.

Read more:Florida Sun Sentinel

4/1/2011: SunPass toll discount would end under Senate transportation bill

The committee voted for the proposal on Thursday. SunPass is an electronic toll-paying system and users typically pay 25 cents less than drivers who pay cash on Florida's Turnpike and other state toll roads.

Read more: Orlando Sentinel

3/31/2011: Florida House panel approves annual budget bill

Florida's teachers, state workers and many local government employees would see their wages shrink by 3 percent under budget measures moving in both legislative chambers, including a pair of bills that cleared a House committee Wednesday.

Read more: BusinessWeek

3/31/2011: Gov. Rick Scott orders immediate cuts to programs for disabled

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered deep cuts Thursday to programs that serve tens of thousands of residents with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities... the governor invoked his emergency powers to order the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities to immediately roll back payments to group homes and social workers by 15 percent...

Read more: Orlando Sentinel

3/21/2011: Negron's health budget proposal overhauls Medicaid, cuts mental health, substance abuse programs

Face-lifting Medicaid and eliminating most state funding for adult mental health and substance abuse programs would make up the bulk of savings in Sen. Joe Negron's $28 billion Health and Human Services budget proposal.

Read more: TCPalm

3/18/2011: Florida’s budget woes worsen. Big tax cuts unlikely

Florida’s current $3.6 billion budget shortfall has increased to more than $3.75 billion, according to forecasts from economists. The new budget gap effectively kills Gov. Rick Scott’s big tax-cut plans.

Read more: Miami Herald

3/16/11: Florida lawmakers looking at steep cuts in school funding

Even as state lawmakers work to lessen the cuts proposed by Gov. Rick Scott in the education budget, they said the numbers they are facing don't look good ...preliminary budget now calls for a 7.7-percent cut in per-student funding.

Read more: Tampa Bay Online

3/15/11: Senate approves Fla. revenue cap for 2012 ballot

Republican-sponsored legislation to cap state revenue similar to Colorado's "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" cleared the Florida Senate on Tuesday in a largely partisan vote and now heads for the House, which also is under GOP control.

Read more: Bloomberg Business Week

3/1/11: Lawmakers poised to privatize Medicaid statewide

Lawmakers say Florida must overhaul Medicaid or its rising costs, which are expected to top $21 billion next year, will overwhelm the budget.

Read more: Miami Herald

2/8/11: Scott announces budget proposals

Governor Rick Scott, unveiled the state’s first “Jobs Budget” before a capacity crowd in Eustis, today.

Read more: Washington County News