ATLANTA - Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles yesterday unveiled a $38.03 billion no-new-taxes budget for fiscal 1995 that focuses on crime prevention, schools, job creation, and the environment.
The all-funds plan, which calls for $2.5 billion more in spending than allocated for fiscal 1994, includes debt service to finance $1.7 billion in tax-exempt borrowings, according to Cynthia Kelly, policy coordinator of budget management.
Kelly said that Chiles' proposed budget would permit issuance of six tax-exempt bond offerings during the upcoming fiscal year: an $839.6 million deal for school buildings; $300 million for purchase of environmentally sensitive land; $299.8 million for new prisons; $123.4 million for state turnpike programs; $114.3 million for rights-of-way acquisition; and $23.5 million for state office buildings.
Chiles' budget proposal for fiscal 1995, which begins July 1, comes two weeks after the governor announced that he would run for a second term in 1994.
"I am ready to work with the Florida Legislature to promote safer communities, build stronger families, and encourage continued economic growth," Chiles said in a statement.
Chiles said that the safety of Florida's residents and visitors is "our most urgent priority," identifying young offenders as a problem of particular concern.
"Our strategies are focused on the prevention of problems, but when problems arise, quick intervention is an opportunity to get young people back on the right track," Chiles said.
"We won't hold back a helping hand to juveniles who need it - but we won't hesitate to put the handcuffs on those who continue to choose the wrong path."
The governor said that his budget will include funding for a record 14,665 new prison beds, 8,307 of which he hopes to build by the end of fiscal 1995. He said that the budget will eliminate the waiting list for juveniles sentenced to serve in state jails.
Overall, Chiles' budget plan includes an additional $736 million in general fund revenues and $1.81 billion in trust fund revenues from fiscal 1994 levels.
The fiscal 1995 budget would be covered by $14 billion in expected general fund revenues, or 36.8% of the total; federal funds of $9.56 billion, or 25.1%; and lottery funds of $936.8 million, or 2%. State trust fund revenues would account for the balance.
Outlays include $14.89 billion, or 39.2% of the total, for human services; $11.06 billion, or 29.1%, for education; $2.67 billion, or 7%, for transportation; $2.4 billion, or 6.3% for the environment; and $2.38 billion, or 6.3% for criminal justice.
Debt service would comprise $703.5 million. or 1.9% of all-funds revenues, according to Kelly.
The proposed budget would permit 120,716 jobs in state government for fiscal 1995, a 2.4% increase over the current fiscal year. The new positions include: 2,312 corrections officers, 120 highway patrol troopers, 241 child support enforcement workers, and 111 state attorney and public defender employees.
The budget compares with a $35.5 billion all-funds budget for fiscal 1994 passed by lawmakers in April that also does not rely on new taxes.
In passing the fiscal 1994 budget, lawmakers rejected a Chiles request to extend the sales tax to exempted professional services, which would have generated about $630 million.
Legislators also turned back a Chiles-backed proposal to raise taxes on cigarettes by 25 cents a pack. The tax was expected to raise about $240 million a year that would have helped finance $480 million in bonds for more than 20,000 new prison beds. Instead, lawmakers passed a measure permitting the sale of prison bonds secured by the approximately $40 million in existing annual fees assessed to criminals on probation.
In his budget plan for fiscal 1994, submitted in December 1992, Chiles proposed $34.9 billion in all-funds spending.