Strengthening Florida Communities
Protecting Florida’s Natural Resources
Over the last four years, historic strides have been made on restoring the Everglades, protecting Florida’s valuable citrus industry, funding springs restoration, and protecting our Areas of Critical State Concern.
The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget builds on these investments by providing more than $3 billion dollars to protect our agricultural and natural resources. The Governor's proposed “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget fully complies with Amendment 1 by including over $757 million for land and water programs funded from documentary stamp tax revenues, and goes beyond the requirements of the amendment by providing an additional $82.5 million to fully fund the environmental commitments made by Governor Scott’s Keep Florida Beautiful Plan.
Permanently Funding Everglades and Springs Restoration
The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget provides $150 million in Fiscal Year 2015-2016, and more than $5 billion over 20 years, for the restoration of our Everglades and estuaries. The Governor believes Florida cannot take its eye off the goal of restoring Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades; the harm of pausing projects or being delayed by litigation is too great for Florida’s families. By creating a dedicated source of funding for Everglades restoration, and by finishing projects that began long ago, the families of Florida will know that the future of healthy estuaries, clean water, and a restored Everglades is near.
That is why the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget creates a dedicated source of revenue for Everglades restoration that provides almost $670 million for ecosystem restoration over the next four years and more than $5 billion by 2034. This means that during the Governor’s second term, south Florida’s families will know the state has the ability to fund its share of the restoration of the Kissimmee River and the construction of the C-43 and C-44 reservoirs – projects that will provide almost 100 billion gallons of water storage to protect our estuaries. These projects build on the success of the Governor’s $880 million water quality plan that ensures clean water for the Everglades, and continues the focus on funding projects instead of litigation.
The Governor’s proposed budget includes $50 million in Fiscal Year 2015-2016, and more than $1.6 billion over 20 years for springs restoration. Over the last two years, the Governor championed record funding for Florida’s springs, partnering with local communities to leverage $35 million in grants into $106 million of projects. Last year alone, projects were funded to provide 36 million gallons of water per day back to aquifers and eliminate 2.7 million pounds per year of nutrient pollution from entering springs. The Governor believes Florida cannot afford to lose this momentum, which is why the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends creating a dedicated source of funding for Florida Springs that will provide more than $220 million over the next four years. When leveraged with local funds, this will create a total investment of half a billion dollars by the end of the Governor’s second term.
Ensuring a Sustainable Water Supply for the Future of Florida - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget proposes funding the first year ($50 million) of a 10 year, $500 million program to provide more than 250 million additional gallons of water a day to Floridians to ensure the sustainable growth of Florida’s economy and environment, and also assist those economically challenged communities in Florida where funding for drinking water facilities represents a limiting factor to a growing economy. While other states struggle to ensure a sustainable supply of water, Florida continues to be committed to the future water needs of business, growth, and the environment.
Protecting Florida’s Coral Reefs - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget proposes $50 million to protect the coral reefs of the Florida Keys by upgrading water facilities to improve the area’s water quality. This brings the Governor’s total investment in grants for Keys’ wastewater upgrades to $150 million – more than any other administration. This is a commitment not only to the health of the only coral reef system in the continental United States, but to the health of Florida’s economy.
Conserving Key Lands to Save the Florida Panther and Florida Springs, and Fully Funding the Stewardship of Lands We Currently Own - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $150 million for land acquisition and management, with a focus on protecting the spaces needed for the Florida panther, and to buffer Florida’s springs and other threatened water bodies. The Florida Panther is a symbol of the state’s natural beauty as well as a reminder of the wild lands from which Florida was developed. Preserving the natural corridors that panthers need to travel through. Florida’s wilderness is key to their survival and to preserving the heritage of this state. In addition to new acquisitions, the Governor’s proposed budget fully funds the management of lands currently owned by the state – recognizing that we should only purchase lands that we are prepared to carefully steward. Specifically, $100 million is distributed pursuant to the Florida Forever statute, which supports land acquisition and improved recreational opportunities, $20 million is provided to restore the Kissimmee River, and an additional $30 million is provided to fully fund the care of the public’s lands.
Protecting Florida’s Beaches - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $25 million of financial assistance to local and state governments and special taxing authorities for beach and dune restoration, beach renourishment, inlet sand bypassing, regional sediment management, and innovative projects. These projects include:
o $1,100,911 for Venice Beach Nourishment/ Sarasota County Shore Protection
o $726,848 for Duval County Shore Protection Project
o $10,520,990 for Walton County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project
o $100,000 for Ft. Pierce Shore Protection Project
o $39,262 for Brevard County Shore Protection Project/ North & South Reaches
o $496,486 for Broward County Shore
o $60,000 for Blind Pass Ecozone Restoration in Lee County
o $117,630 for South Amelia Island Beach Nourishment
o $4,566,500 for Upham Beach Groin Replacement
o $1,598,463 for Longboat Key Beach Nourishment (funds will be divided with Inlet project)
o $2,684,976 for Statewide Post-Construction Monitoring
o $160,500 for Port Canaveral IMP Implementation
o $46,500 for Lake Worth IMP Implementation
o $4,963,900 for Longboat Pass IMP Implementation (funds will be divided with beach restoration project)
Investing in Florida State Parks - In addition to 161 state parks, the Florida Park Service manages the state’s greenways and trails. The goal of the Florida Park Service is to show park visitors the best of Florida’s diverse natural and cultural sites. Between 2010 and 2014, over 98 million people visited Florida State Parks. Governor Scott’s proposed budget provides the following funding for state parks and coastal aquatic managed areas:
o Statepark facilityimprovements -$19 million
o National recreationtrail/facilitygrants - $3 million
o Resourcemanagement&historic structurerepairs -$8 million
o Partnership in parks program - $2 million
o Maintenanceandrepairs for coastal and aquatic managed areas - $590,000
Florida Agriculture Investment - Florida agriculture supports over two million jobs and contributes more than $104 billion annually to the state’s economy. Florida has 47,500 commercial farms, occupying a total of 9.25 million acres, and ranks second in the value of vegetable production. Additionally, Florida ranks first in cash receipts for oranges, grapefruit, fresh snap beans, sweet corn, watermelons, fresh cucumbers, squash and sugarcane, and ranks second in the production of greenhouse and nursery products. Florida accounts for 65 percent of the total U.S. citrus production. Nationally, Florida ranks 12th in beef cows and seventh in agricultural exports, shipping more than $3.1 billion in goods out of the state. The Governor’s $1.5 billion proposed agriculture budget includes the following funding to ensure Florida’s citrus industry continues to lead the nation:
o Protecting Florida’s Citrus Industry through Research- Governor Scott’s proposed budget provides $8 million in funding for short-term research projects on how to stop the spread of citrus greening, a bacterial disease, which greatly reduces citrus production and kills citrus trees. The citrus industry provides an economic impact of $10.68 billion annually, accounts for 62,313 jobs, represents about two-thirds of the U.S. citrus market, and accounts for 40 percent of the world’s orange juice supply.
o Citrus Health Response Program - Governor Scott’s proposed budget provides $7.36 million in funding to help protect the economic well being of the citrus industry, by surveying groves for pests and diseases and ensuring growers are taking appropriate measures to suppress disease incidence, minimize spread, and preserve citrus acreage through coordinated efforts.
Building Stronger Florida Communities
As a father and a grandfather, Governor Scott understands how important it is to ensure everyone can live a healthy and safe life in Florida. During his first term in office, the Governor focused on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in Florida. He implemented reforms to increase the quality of life for children in foster care, invested in better safety measures to protect children facing harmful situations at home, and reformed government agencies to provide for those with disabilities. This year, Governor Scott also announced that juvenile arrests in Florida have dropped 36 percent over the past five years – a 30-year low.
The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget continues to build on these important investments as Governor Scott works to make Florida the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family.
By supporting vulnerable youth, the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetinvests in programs that provide support to children that need it most.
Guardian ad Litem – Governor Scott’s “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget protects vulnerable youth by providing $4.4 million for the Guardian ad Litem Program to hire additional staff to recruit and supervise 2,945 new volunteers. These volunteers and staff will serve an additional 5,000 children, reaching the final stage of a three-year plan to ensure that 100 percent of the children who need state services are served.
At Risk Youth Programs and Prevention Services – Under the Governor’s leadership, Florida has become a national leader in applying effective intervention strategies for at-risk youth. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget continues efforts to reduce juvenile crime through effective investments in preventative programs, intervention, and treatment care for children at risk of criminal behavior. Over the past four years, the decreases in costly juvenile detention and residential commitment programs have added up to a savings of more than $87 million.Some of the investments to benefit Florida’s at-risk youth include
o About Face Program – $1.25 million to provide summer and after-school life preparation programs.
o PACE Program for At-Risk Girls - $850,000 for 50 additional slots.
o Counseling for Troubled Youth - $780,952 for interview and counseling services for troubled elementary and middle school aged youth and their families.
o Forward March Program – $750,000 to provide job readiness services at selected Florida armories for work and gain economic self sufficiency recipients and other qualifying young adults.
o Juvenile Assessment Centers - $735,840 to continue juvenile assessment centers in Bay and Escambia counties.
o Youth Challenge Program –$536,610 to support the Youth Challenge program at Camp Blanding by providing additional replacement equipment.
o Getting Youth Back in the Classroom - $291,741 for staff to work with the Department of Education on transitioning youth from a juvenile residential program back to their local school.
o Juvenile Domestic Violence Respite Bed Days - $202,500 for additional juvenile respite bed days for youth charged with domestic violence that can be diverted from secure detention to a respite bed.
Affordable Housing –The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $100.8 million for affordable housing - $70.8 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program and $30 million for the State Housing Initiative (SHIP) program. SAIL provides low interest loans to developers who build or rehabilitate affordable housing projects. The Governor is recommending special consideration be given to properties that target demographics such as the elderly and those with special needs. SHIP funding will be focused on providing first-time home buyer down payment assistance for very low to low and moderate income families.
Small Community Development Block Grants – The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $36.5 million in small community development block grants to fund a series of programs focusing on low and moderate income persons, improving housing and supporting infrastructure improvements that lead to job growth.
Technical Assistance to Local Governments – The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $3.6 million for Technical Assistance to Local Governments for innovative planning and development strategies to promote adverse economy and vibrant communities. Funds provide technical assistance to Florida communities related to growth management, changes in coastal vulnerability and economic development initiatives.
Competitive Florida – The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetrecommends $1.6 million for community based asset inventories – “Competitive Florida.” These funds will build upon an existing pilot program for selected communities.
Florida Military Presence and Families – The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $4.6 million for Florida’s Military Presence and Families, which funds the state’s support of in military research and development and assists defense-dependent communities in the diversification of their economies. The Governor’s recommended budget includes $2 million for the Florida Defense Support Task Force, $1.6 million for the Defense Infrastructure Program, and $1 million for military base protection.
Keeping Florida Families Healthy
Boosting Brain Disorder Research - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetrecommends $8 million in funding, which more than doubles the state’s investment in research for diseases of the central nervous system. The budget establishes a consistent source of state funding to assist Florida’s elite neurological research and treatment centers in earning prestigious national designations from the National Institutes of Health. The budget also expands funding for competitive grants awarded to promising research project proposals for various neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and mental illnesses.
Diseases of the central nervous system have recently become the focus of the greatest number of start-ups, mergers and acquisitions for companies attracting early stage investment in biotechnology. Because of Florida’s public health needs and unique demographics, building up the state’s brain disorder research enterprise offers great potential to improve the quality of life for Floridians, contribute to the state’s economic competitiveness, and support the creation of more jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Investing in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetincreases funding for mental health and substance abuse services by more than $22 million, and establishes the Florida Community Behavioral Health Program at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to maximize capacity for, responsiveness to, and coordination of the behavioral health needs of Florida’s most vulnerable residents.
The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends$2.4 million for the Department of Corrections to expand community residential treatment and mental health beds to ensure offenders on community supervision that are court ordered into a program have access to critical substance abuse treatment. In addition, $2.5 million is provided to establish mental health and case management services for offenders completing their prison term that have an identified mental illness.
Investing in Child Welfare - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetincreases and reforms core services funding for community-based care lead agencies tasked with administering Florida’s foster care system. In addition to the more than $15 million in new funds, the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetallocates funding based on the number of children served and the outcomes they experience. The new methodology will directly reward providers that create a safer environment and increased permanency for children, which are the fundamental goals behind Florida’s child welfare system. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget also provides an additional $5 million for a risk pool that lead agencies can access for financial emergencies, and reforms the process by which lead agencies are allowed to carry forward funds from one year to the next in order to allow for more innovation and financial certainty.
Enhancing the Child Welfare Workforce - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetprovides funding for DCF to respond more rapidly and more effectively to the needs of the children and families served. More than $14 million in funding is added to ensure that all child welfare workers for DCF, local County Sheriff’s Offices, and community based care lead agencies have the training necessary to effectively identify risky situations and develop intervention strategies to protect the safety of vulnerable children.
Another $8.5 million in funding is included for information technology upgrades that will give child protective investigators, case managers, court officials, service providers, Guardians ad Litem, and other community partners greater ability to track and share readily available information on client needs, service effectiveness, and judicial proceedings.
Finally, the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget gives DCF new flexibility to transfer child protective investigation responsibilities to any local County Sheriff’s Office volunteering to take on these responsibilities and apply innovative local strategies.
Preventing Child Maltreatment - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetrecommends $5 million in funding for the Healthy Families Florida Program, so that statewide efforts to protect Florida’s children can start prevention methods with the most proven results. This new funding will help this nationally accredited, evidence-based home visiting program to reach statewide capacity for the first time in six years.
Three New State Veterans Nursing Homes - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget proposes $7.4 million and the use of revenue from existing state veteran nursing homes to create three new state veterans nursing homes. This plan will dramatically increase capacity and will serve hundreds more veterans. One of the new nursing homes has been announced for St. Lucie County. The location for the other two new homes would be considered by the Florida Cabinet in the coming months. Florida has the third largest population of veterans in the nation, with 1.6 million (12 percent) of the Sunshine State’s adult population. Most of Florida’s veterans are from the World War II era, while another 490,000 (about 1 in 4) are Vietnam veterans.
Caring for Seniors - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetrecommends $2 million in new funding to enroll 200 additional individuals into the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative program, and another $2.7 million is provided to enroll 400 additional individuals into the Community Care for the Elderly Program at the Department of Elder Affairs.
Statewide Public Guardianship Program –The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget also continues $3 million for the Statewide Public Guardianship Program to operate on a statewide basis. This program provides guardianship services to persons who do not have adequate income or assets to afford a private guardian.
Supporting People with Developmental Disabilities - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetrecommends $8 million in additional funding to enroll all individuals with critical needs from the waiting list onto the Developmental Disabilities Waiver Program at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. This is the second year in a row that funding is provided to enroll all individuals with critical needs. The program provides home and community based services to assist people with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities.
The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget also provides $2 million for supported employment and supported internship services to help individuals to participate in and contribute to Florida’s continuing job growth.
Beginning Quality-Based Payment in Medicaid - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget builds on recent major reforms to Florida’s Medicaid program, with the first ever statewide initiative to tie payments directly to quality outcomes. The successful implementation of statewide managed care and prospective payment in Medicaid have been used to tie a portion of managed care plan payments to performance based on reducing potentially preventable readmissions and complications in hospitals for their Medicaid enrollees. Like the major reforms it is built on, this new patient-centered initiative will further reward the delivery of high-value, quality-driven health care services in an efficient manner, to the benefit of both Medicaid recipients and Florida taxpayers.
Expanding Graduate Medical Education - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budgetexpands the $80 million statewide Medical Residency Program with more than $7 million in new funds to further improve access to and quality of care for Florida patients, expand graduate medical education on an equitable basis, and increase the supply of highly trained physicians statewide.
Keeping Florida Families Safe
Over the past four years, Governor Scott, along with law enforcement, has worked to ensure our communities are safe for Florida families and visitors. Safer communities mean that more families and businesses will move to Florida and bring jobs and investment. The crime rate is at its lowest level in 43 years, even as Florida’s population continues to grow. Additionally, Florida’s recidivism rate continues to decline, dropping 6.2 percent in the past four years. Public safety remains a top priority, and this budget includes continued investments that provide law enforcement the resources they need to reduce crime in Florida through investigation, prevention and effective rehabilitation. Governor Scott believes a key role of government is to provide the utmost security for the citizens of the state.
The Department of Corrections Reforms - As the Department of Corrections (DOC) pursues reforms of enhanced accountability, transparency, mental health services, and community involvement, the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget supplements ongoing reform efforts that make facilities safer for Corrections Officers, and the offenders DOC houses.
The Governor’s budget invests $51.2 million over the current budget. The budget includes $17.5 million to fill more than 300 critical vacancies ranging from corrections officers who keep facilities and personnel safe, to programmatic staff who work to reform offenders, so that upon conclusion of their sentence they can safely reenter society.
These positions will also enhance DOC efforts at further creating a culture of safety and reform, while holding those accountable who fail to live up to the standards that so many corrections officers honor. Moreover, as the Department tackles the challenges of a growing population of offenders that suffer from mental health matters, additional personnel will provide the DOC with greater tools and support as policies and procedures are improved to address this population’s needs.
The Governor’s budget also invests $15 million for critical upgrades to correctional facilities. These long-term investments in infrastructure will enhance the safety and security of facilities, and allow facilities to optimize bed space. For health care services, the budget reflects an increase of $7.9 million.
The budget also includes $1.7 million to add additional security cameras throughout facilities across the state. The DOC is adding audio capabilities to cameras that will provide a critical tool to those investigating claims by offenders regarding use of force incidents and offender-on-offender crimes. Additional cameras will enhance the DOC’s efforts regarding accountability and safety for corrections officers and offenders in facilities. The budget also invests $1 million for enhancing prisoner transport operations. This funding will allow the DOC to replace equipment, and enhance the safety and security of prison operations on Florida roads.
Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $1.1 million to continue enhancing the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System, by expanding mobile radio coverage in areas currently without service.
FDLE Law Enforcement Training - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $4.8 million for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to continue funding levels for the 40 criminal justice training centers to help ensure local and state law enforcement officers receive advanced and specialized training.
Law Enforcement Technology - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget funds crime fighting and crime lab technology in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that supports state and local law enforcement and enhances public safety.
Specifically, $3.8 million is provided to continue replacement of the computerized criminal history system, providing enhanced functions and response times that are critical to the officer on the street, and $2.2 million to enhance crime lab services and to preserve the security and integrity of Florida’s crime labs.
State Attorneys to Prosecute Sexually Violent Predators - The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $2.2 million to have state attorneys hold sexually violent predators accountable and meet increased staff workload. This increased workload results from legislation that allows a person in county jail to be eligible for referral for civil commitment by a state attorney’s office.
Human Trafficking – The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget continues $3 million in funding safe houses through the Department of Children and Families where victims are treated in safe facilities. Also, the Department of Juvenile Justice is establishing identification screening procedures where victims of human trafficking are identified, and put on a path where they receive treatment.