On Monday, March 14, the House and Senate chambers will convene to vote on a record $112.1 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2022. By every expectation, it will pass in its current form. The budget will go to Governor Ron DeSantis who has line item veto authority.
The final status of FCCB budget priorities include:
Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Funding Increase
2022 Catholic Days at the Capitol Issue
The Legislature increased the VPK per-student allocation by $317 or 12.75%. This is the largest increase to the per-student allocation since the program began in 2005-2006. VPK is one of the state's most popular school choice programs. Florida's Catholic schools have successfully served children in this program since its inception. However, VPK funding has seen a net decrease over the course of the program's 17 years. Catholic Days Backgrounder
Pregnancy Support Services - The Florida Pregnancy Care Network (FPCN) has been level funded at $4.5 million. FPCN pregnancy care centers provide services such as counseling, referrals, material support, training, and pregnancy and childbirth education to pregnant mothers as they prepare to parent or place their babies for adoption. FCCB has been supportive of the program since its inception in 2005.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund - The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund will receive approximately $362.7 million, protected from being swept to general revenue. The FCCB has long supported full funding of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Affordable housing monies fund construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing, down payment assistance and limited rental development to assist the disabled, elderly, veterans and others in need of housing assistance.
Nursing Home and Hospital Funding - Nursing homes received a 7% increase in the Medicaid base rate. The increase is tied to the Senate President's priority to increase employee wages to $15 per hour. The increase is effective October 1, 2022 and covers all employees in the nursing home. Providers will be required to enter into a supplemental wage agreement with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to ensure compliance.
Hospitals avoided cuts to their overall rates this year. The legislature removed automatic rate enhancements this year for safety net hospitals, in response to the directed payment program. However, the legislature approved $50 million in outlier payments for hospitals that lose the automatic rate enhancement but do not participate in directed payment.
Immigration Enforcement - The budget includes a $12 million allocation for the Department of Transportation to contract with common carriers and partner with applicable federal agencies to facilitate a program to remove undocumented individuals deemed "unauthorized aliens" as defined in SB 1808. For more on this FCCB opposed bill, see below.
Hormonal Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (HLARC) - A $2 million recurring allocation for HLARC was included in the budget during final negotiations between the Senate and the House. The FCCB will again be urging Governor DeSantis to veto this funding expansion of abortifacient family planning, as he did in 2021.
The following legislative proposals were actively engaged by the FCCB during the Session.