Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday his plans for Florida’s 2022 budget, which is expected to come to a total of $99.7 billion. Last year, Florida’s budget eclipsed $100 billion for the first time in state history. The slight decrease in state revenue is due, in large part, to the economy rebounding from the effects of the COVID pandemic.

DeSantis is calling it the “Freedom First Budget” while touting Florida as a “free state.”

“Freedom works in Florida. We’re proud of that,” DeSantis said. “We’re proud of being viewed as the ‘free state,’ and I think that the economic results are something that have been very, very positive.”

DeSantis also said on Twitter that keeping Florida free has ensured the livelihoods of countless Floridians.

“Keeping Florida free has enabled us to protect the jobs and livelihoods of millions of Floridians, keep kids in school and address key priorities through our budget – all while amassing a historic level of reserves,” DeSantis said.

Within the budget recommendations include bonuses for law enforcement and teachers, a pause on Florida’s gas tax, and multiple environmental projects.

DeSantis’ gas tax proposal is a $1 billion relief plan designed to provide a respite for drivers amid rising gas prices.

“We also understand, though, as we’ve seen inflation take off in various sectors of our economy, that Floridians need relief from that,” DeSantis said. “While we can’t change the policies in Washington that are driving that, we can do our best to step up and provide relief for Florida families who need it.”

Last month, DeSantis announced his intentions to propose the plan which could save $200 on average per family.

A total of $225 million will also be used to provide pay raises for 97,000 workers in the state personnel system.

“Every state employee under our budget will be able to see a salary increase,” DeSantis said.

Rural infrastructure is recommended to receive $105 million to improve roads, wastewater treatment infrastructure, and broadband access.

The largest recipient of state dollars will be Florida’s education system, which is proposed to receive nearly $24 billion toward K-12 education.

After the announcement, DeSantis blitzed Twitter with a series of budget highlights breaking down how much money each sector would receive under the Freedom First Budget.

The Florida Legislature will consider the governor’s recommendations during the 2022 Legislative Session where they will be tasked with finalizing the budget.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Ron DeSantis.