August 9, 2023

Florida FY 2023-24 Budget: Summary by Issue Area

Executive Summary

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the fiscal year (FY) 2023-24 budget into law on June 16, 2023. After accounting for $511 million in vetoes, the General Appropriations Act (GAA) totals $116.5 billion, a 5.9 percent increase over the FY 2022-23 budget of $110 billion.

Introduction: Florida's High Cost of Living Coupled With Stagnant Wages is Making it Difficult for Families to Thrive

By some economic measures, Florida is booming: the unemployment rate is low at 2.6 percent, and the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all the goods and services produced, has increased by 3.5 percent since the fourth quarter of 2022. However, a decent quality of life is increasingly out of reach for many Floridians. Skyrocketing inflation in the state — largely fueled by increasing housing costs — and wages that simply cannot keep pace have made the Sunshine State one of the most unaffordable places to live in the United States. Specifically, the national inflation rate increased by 3 percent between June 2022 and June 2023, while in Florida, the inflation rate has increased by more than double while wages have lagged: 

  • In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area, the inflation rate increased by 6.9 percent from June 2022 to June 2023,  while average hourly earnings decreased by 0.3 percent.
  • In the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, the inflation rate increased 7.3 percent from May 2022 to May 2023,7 while average hourly earnings only increased by 1.5 percent.

Compounding rising inflation and stagnant wages, Florida has experienced, and will continue to experience, significant demographic shifts and challenges. For example, between July 2021 and 2022, Florida became the nation’s fastest growing state for the first time since 1957, adding a total of 416,754 people. This population increase is analogous to adding a city slightly larger than Tampa. The Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) projects that Florida will gain nearly 4 million new residents by 2040, with a significant increase in the older adult population. As the state’s population increases and ages, the demand for public services (e.g., good quality roads, public transit, schools, and water systems) will increase, raising crucial questions about the viability and equity of Florida’s tax code and budgetary choices. 

These deep cracks in the foundation of Florida’s economy highlight the inequities that undermine this moment of economic expansion. Without a doubt, while some continue to benefit from the state’s economic success, more and more Floridians are being left out and priced out. Yet, the current moment is also full of promise — due to better than expected economic conditions, policymakers have the resources to make bold investments that could foster shared prosperity for generations. By investing in public services like affordable housing, education, health care, and safety net programs, and offering targeted relief to Floridians struggling to afford the basics, lawmakers can reduce barriers to economic mobility and help families thrive. 

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