Florida Democrats Release New Sunshine Deal Budget, Setting Priorities for 2019 Legislative Session
The First Democratic Budget in Decades Prioritizes Raising Teacher Pay, Expanding Health Care, Tax Cuts for Working Families, and Environmental Protection
Today, Florida Democrats released the New Sunshine Deal, a progressive and fiscally responsible budget that will raise teacher pay, clean up our environment, provide tax cuts for working families, rebuild communities devastated by Hurricane Michael, and invest in environmental protection. At a press conference today, House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee and the House Democratic Caucus unveiled the budget and discussed how it will lift up Florida's working families. The press conference was the first time Democrats have put forward their own budget document in decades.
"The New Sunshine Deal is progressive, fiscally responsible, and solves the urgent challenges that Republicans have ignored for decades. By proposing common-sense investments in our families, communities, and businesses, Democrats are building the foundation of a strong economy that works for everyone," said FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo. "The New Sunshine Deal Budget does what Republicans have failed to do for years — raise teacher pay, invest in environmental protection, and expand health care — while at the same time providing tax cuts for working families and putting millions into reserves."
The budget is entirely paid for by closing tax loopholes that have for years benefited special interests and corporations at the expense of small businesses. While both the Democratic budget and Governor Ron DeSantis' budget are within one percent of one another in terms of cost, the New Sunshine Deal — unlike DeSantis' proposal — provides tax breaks for working families, additional investments in our environment and public education, increased affordable access to healthcare — while at the same time adding more than $700 million to the state's reserves.
The New Sunshine Deal Budget specifically proposes:
- A Working Families Tax Rebate Program: The "Working Families Tax Rebate Program" will provide working families who are struggling to make ends meet a tax rebate worth $524 million. This tax credit should be a no-brainer — it provides relief for the families who pay the highest taxes based on their income and is designed to encourage and reward work.
- Raising Teacher Pay: The budget will invest $747 million to provide an across the board salary increase for Florida school personnel.This increase would be a "down payment" toward increasing salaries by 13 percent — which would ensure that Florida teachers are finally paid at the national average.
- Saving Taxpayers' Money $100 Million by Expanding Health Care to 700,000 Floridians: The New Sunshine Deal Budget would expand Medicaid — and provide more than 700,000 Floridians with access to affordable healthcare. It is expected that expansion will deliver general revenue savings of $150 million.
- Cleaning Our Water and Protecting Our Coastal Economies: The New Sunshine Deal Budget goes further than Ron DeSantis' budget to invest in environmental protection — and would provide an additional $20 million to address the toxic algae crisis, $200 million more for conservation and $20 million for resiliency.
- Hurricane Relief: The New Sunshine Deal Budget includes bonding at a debt service cost of $24.7 million to respond to these needs. This additional funding will support $247 million in relief eliminate the need to divert Sadowski Trust Fund resources from other areas of the state with critical needs for affordable housing.