May 4, 2023

FPI Statement on the Budget Agreement, Private School Vouchers, and Anti-Immigrant Legislation

The statement below is on the $117 billion budget agreement for fiscal year 2023-24 — which represents a 6.4 percent increase over the current fiscal year — along with two measures that FPI has advocated against during the 2023 legislative session.

Much of the discourse around funding allocations during this year’s legislative session was predicated on the state’s historic reserves. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these reserves provide only a temporary increase to our state coffers. Florida’s revenue outlook is particularly vulnerable to fluctuations due to our over-reliance on the sales tax and economic conditions like inflation and a potential recession.

Despite widespread concern and a lack of public support, the Legislature passed HB 1, a measure which expands the state’s private school voucher program to wealthy and home-school families. The FY 2023-24 budget does not reflect the true cost of this expansion, which FPI estimates at $4 billion. Though the final budget includes $350 million in reserves for this program in case of overages, we expect that this will not be enough to meet the forecasted demand for vouchers. Lawmakers also did not adopt the Senate’s recommendation to include a separate line item for the cost of private school vouchers — a measure that would have increased transparency on the real cost of voucher expansion.

We are also alarmed at the passage of HB 1617/SB 1718, which targets immigrants in Florida and exacerbates a climate of fear and divisiveness. Thanks to the hard work of a diverse coalition, some of the most egregious aspects of the original legislation were removed and in-state tuition for select undocumented students remains in place. Still, this law diverts $12 million from the General Revenue Fund to the Unauthorized Alien Transport program and creates harsh new penalties for Floridians and businesses, which FPI projects could cost upwards of $12 billion in lost GDP as immigrants lose jobs essential to Florida's economy.

Downloadable Resources

There are no attachments currently.
No items found.
Related posts
No items found.