DeSantis signs Florida budget that includes $1K checks for teachers, first responders

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisWhere election review efforts stand across the US Schools without mask mandate 3.5 times more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks: CDC study Texas limits business with Ben & Jerry's over Israel move MORE (R) signed Florida’s budget Wednesday, which includes allocating $1,000 payments to teachers and first responders.

The $101.5 billion state budget is an increase of more than $9 billion from the previous year and will include increases in spending for education and environmental projects, Bloomberg reported.

More than 175,000 teachers and 3,000 principals along with first responders will be receiving a $1,000 check as part of the spending plan.

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The budget also allocates $50 million toward childhood education with the goal of raising minimum teacher salaries to $47,500. When it comes to higher education, $1.3 billion will go toward the Florida College System and $2.8 billion to the State University System. The state's historically Black colleges will receive $126 million, according to Bloomberg.

Money is being allocated for environmental initiatives and water quality improvements with $100 million going to state and local groups annually that tackle rising sea levels and storm impacts.

“We did all this while maintaining strong fiscal reserves and lowering taxes to make sure Florida families benefit this year and for decades to come,” DeSantis said.

The governor vetoed money the legislature set aside for future budget issues and emergency preparedness saying the $1.35 billion will be put elsewhere, Bloomberg noted.

The increase in the budget, for the fiscal year starting in July, was boosted by $6.9 billion in federal funds sent to states due to the COVID-19 pandemic. DeSantis said he believed his state should have gotten more given that it operated under mostly lax public health restrictions during the pandemic.

“If you were a lockdown state with high unemployment, you got more money than your per-capita basis,” DeSantis said. “We had lower unemployment, so Florida got a lot less.”