The Florida Congress approved Monday the state budget for next year, which at $112.1 billion is the largest in the state’s history and includes a pay raise for state workers and contractors, as well as prosecutors, public defenders, and teachers.
The budget was approved by the Senate in a unanimous vote, shortly after the House passed it on a 105-3 vote.
The passage of the spending plan marked the end of the 2022 legislative session, in which the Floridian Congress has passed several laws to protect the state’s families and children’s education.
The $112.1 billion represent a 10% increase over the $101.5 billion in the previous budget, according to USA Today.
The new budget, which still needs the signature of the governor, Ron DeSantis, provides for wage increases of 5.38% for all state workers and a commitment that no state worker will earn less than $15 per hour.
It also includes $200 million in federal aid to supplement the October 2022 suspension of the state gas tax.
The budget approved today calls for $12 million to relocate undocumented immigrants out of state; $10 million to reactivate the Florida State Guard with a force of up to 400 volunteers; and $50 million for a grant fund for job growth.
With respect to public defenders and assistant state attorneys general, they will see an additional salary increase of between $5,000 and $10,000 per year.
If the new budget is approved, the minimum salary for teachers will increase to at least $47,500 annually.
State Senate President Wilton Simpson said in a statement that the budget invests in the workers who serve the state and its people.
In his state budget proposal last December, DeSantis had already included pay raises for state workers and a five-month pause on the gas tax, something lawmakers ultimately reduced to a single month.
DeSantis said the gas tax suspension was necessary to offset rising fuel prices and inflation because of President Joe Biden.