Today, Governor Ron DeSantis sent a letter to Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Chris Sprowls outlining how to utilize a portion of federal funds the state is expected to receive via the recently signed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The federal stimulus package provides $1.9 trillion in new spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act includes “Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Funds,” which provides $195.3 billion to the States and the District of Columbia.
The Governor’s recommendations include providing assistance to Floridians in need, and making major investments in critical areas such as infrastructure, education, and workforce development to continue Florida’s rapid economic recovery.
A top priority of the Governor remains the support and celebration of pandemic first responders and their role in serving the state. The Governor’s recommendations include a one-time $1,000 direct payment to full-time sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians. The Governor’s recommendations further support Floridians by putting in place a modernized reemployment assistance system to correct critical design flaws and improve the delivery of services to Floridians.
Florida’s recovery has far outpaced early projections and is on track to restore pre-pandemic economic growth. To bolster Florida’s recovery efforts, the Governor is recommending over $500 million for economic development and recovery initiatives. These recommendations will boost Florida’s tourism industry, support critical job sectors, and maximize Florida’s economic incentive toolbox to get money out the door in support of programs that create high-paying jobs.
The Governor’s recommendations also take important steps to invest in Florida’s infrastructure, resilience, and readiness. Florida’s transportation work program will be made whole again, fully funded at pre-pandemic levels. Further, the Resilient Florida Grant Program, offering state and local grants for resilience projects, will receive a $1 billion lift. This will provide more than $2 billion over the next four years when combined with the Governor’s Florida Leads Budget recommendation. The Governor also invests in Florida’s security with a recommended $41.7 million to enhance the Florida National Guard and $1 billion for the creation of an Emergency Management Response Fund.
Finally, the Governor is recommending $185 million for workforce training and research initiatives. Through Executive Order 19-31, the Governor began the process of making Florida the number one state in the nation for workforce education, and this recommended funding continues that focus to prepare Floridians to fill high-demand, high-wage occupations. Additionally, the Governor continues efforts to support research to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s disease by dedicating $10 million for the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program.
Governor DeSantis’ budget recommendations to the Florida Legislature regarding the use of these federal funds are listed below:
Providing Assistance to Floridians
- $208.4 Million (FY 20-21) – Direct Payments to Pandemic First Responders
- $73.2 Million (FY 21-22) – Re-Employment Assistance Modernization
- $56.6 Million (FY 21-22) – Re-Employment Assistance Operations
- $72 Million (FY 21-22) – Behavioral Health System Modernization
Promoting Economic Development and Recovery
- $258.2 Million (FY 20-21) – Relief for Florida’s Seaports
- $150 Million (FY 21-22) – Florida Job Growth Grant Fund
- $50 Million (FY 21-22) – VISIT FLORIDA
- $50 Million (FY 21-22) – Economic Development Transportation Fund
Investing in Infrastructure, Resiliency and Readiness
- $938.4 Million (FY 20-21) – Transportation Work Program
- $1 Billion (FY 21-22) – Resilient Florida Grant Program
- $1 Billion (FY 21-22) – Emergency Management Response Fund
- $41.7 Million (FY 21-22) – Florida National Guard Expansion
Workforce Training and Research
- $125 Million (FY 21-22) – Education and Employment Training Program
- $60 Million (FY 21-22) – Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grants
- $10 Million (FY 21-22) – Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program
The Governor’s recommendations total $4.1 billion, of which $1.4 billion is recommended for immediate use during the current fiscal year. The Governor is not recommending the appropriation of the full anticipated state allocation, and instead is requesting the Legislature leave a portion of the funds aside to evaluate Florida’s economic recovery throughout the year and make additional targeted appropriations at a later time.