Florida Senate leaders are among those thankful for Gov. Rick Scott signing the state’s record $77 billion budget on Monday for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Republican Senate President Don Gaetz and Sen. Joe Negron, chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, each issued statements applauding Scott for signing HB 5001, the 2014-15 General Appropriations Act. Both lawmakers had local projects survive Scott’s line-item budget veto.
“Governor Scott has remained faithful to his fiscal conservative principles by approving the largest broad-based tax cut in a decade and by affirming the Legislature’s commitment to set aside more than $3 billion in reserves,” Gaetz said.
Gaetz added that he was “grateful” to the Governor for signing a budget that provides “unprecedented levels” for education, more funding for state universities and the creation of a “more effective, more professional, and more accountable child welfare system.”
“Children’s Advocacy Centers will see increased funding needed to provide enhanced services to children who have been victims of abuse and neglect,” he said, “the Guardian Ad Litem program will receive funding needed to facilitate the maximum current year expansion, and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities will be able to serve more Floridians on the critical needs waiting list.”
Negron called the budget a “conservative spending, saving and investment strategy” that represents the hard work and approval of “every single member” of the Senate. He also focused on the spending plan’s multi-billion dollar reserves, in case of natural disasters such as hurricanes, as well as money for environmental projects in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee River Systems and the Indian River Lagoon.
The West Palm Beach Republican represents Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties.
“By setting aside over $3 billion in reserves, which total more than 10 percent of general revenue, and prioritizing a $500 million broad-based tax cut that will impact Florida families and businesses for years to come, the Governor and Legislature demonstrated a shared commitment to responsible stewardship of limited taxpayer dollars,” Negron said.