05/02/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/02/2019 11:12
The Florida Senate released the conference report on Senate Bill 2500, the 2019-2020 General Appropriations Act, which appropriates funding that brings the total state investment in Hurricane Michael Recovery to $1.859 billion.
'This budget builds on Florida's commitment to Hurricane Michael Recovery, bringing the total state investment in Hurricane Michael Recovery to $1.859 billion,' said Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton). 'Specifically, the budget dedicates significant funding to restore critical life-safety services to panhandle communities, build and provide affordable housing options for displaced families, rebuild local government infrastructure, repair critical county and municipal roads, and rebuild education facilities. Our K-12 Education budget includes additional funding to cover losses due to declined enrollment in impacted counties, and we also include funding to restore recreational opportunities and provide technical support for local governments to secure reimbursements.'
'As we worked on our state budget, the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Michael was a top consideration. Senators Gainer, Montford, and Broxson led the way, working closely with our Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs and our House colleagues to assess the needs of their constituents,' said Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. 'I believe we have put forward a solid plan at the state level to ensure long-term sustained recovery for Florida's Panhandle communities.'
'On October 10th the landscape of the panhandle and the lives of those who call it home were changed forever. The destruction did not begin and end on that day. Our schools, neighborhoods, churches, businesses and families all felt the impact. More than six months later, we are just beginning to see the full picture of the monumental challenges before us,' said Senator Gainer (R-Panama City). 'I am confident this budget will help our communities heal and rebuild, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support and focus on this critical effort.'
'Our state has never before faced the devastation that destroyed North Florida in early October last year. More than six months later, there are many families and children still in need,' said Senator Montford (D-Tallahassee). 'I am confident this budget is a step towards healing the wounds that this horrific storm left on the resilient people of North Florida. My colleagues in the state legislature have ensured that the incredible needs just 50 miles from the Capitol do not go unmet and this nearly $2 billion commitment will jump start the decades long rebuilding process. With such a long road ahead for our communities, I am grateful that the Florida Legislature remains committed to recovery.'
'Hurricane Michael devastated the lives of many Floridians in just a couple of hours. It will take years to build back what we lost when the category five storm swept through North Florida,' said Senator Broxson (R-Pensacola). 'We have a great deal of work ahead of us over the next several years and this budget is a huge step in the right direction. I am proud to be working with my Senate colleagues to restore this beautiful part of Florida.'
Total State Investment In Hurricane Michael Recovery: $1.859 Billion
Senate Bill 2500: 2019-20 General Appropriations Act
Restore Critical Life-Safety Services to Panhandle Communities
Affordable Housing for Displaced Families
Rebuild Local Government Infrastructure
Critical County and Municipal Road Repairs
Rebuild Education Facilities and Increase Investment in K-12 Schools
Restore Recreational Opportunities
Technical Support for Local Governments to Secure Reimbursements
Additional Hurricane Relief, Recovery and Preparedness Initiatives
Tax Relief for Impacted Property Owners
Tax Exemptions for Hurricane Michael Recovery
House Bill 7123, the 2019 Tax Relief Package under consideration in the House and Senate, creates several tax relief benefits related to hurricane response, recovery, and preparedness.
2019 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday
House Bill 7123 would also create a seven-day 'disaster preparedness' sales tax holiday from May 31 to June 6, 2019, for disaster preparedness supplies. Tax-free items include: flashlights and lanterns costing $20 or less; radios and tarps costing $50 or less; coolers and batteries costing $30 or less; and, generators costing $750 or less, among others.