On January 29, 2010, Gov. Crist released his proposed $69.2-billion state budget for the 2010 – 2011 fiscal year. The proposal represents an increase of more than $2.7 billion over Florida's $66.5 billion 2009 – 2010 spending. The proposal to increase spending comes only a week after state legislators warned about a potential $3.2 billion shortfall should the Legislature enact a “continuation” budget that merely maintains current expenditure levels.
The governor's proposal includes approximately $200 million in budget cuts. The budget also includes spending increases, including a $535.5 million boost to school spending. The proposal also includes a $57.4 million cut in the corporate income tax, a 10-day back-to-school sales-tax holiday, $50 million for the Florida Forever land buying program, $50 million for Everglades restoration, no tuition increases for state colleges and universities, and no raises for state employees.
Gov. Crist's budget depends on $4 billion in federal stimulus money, including $1.2 billion for increased Medicaid costs. The governor's plan also counts on $434 million in revenue from a proposed Seminole Tribe gaming compact and $584.4 million in sweeps of 32 state trust funds, including $232 million from the Lawton Chiles Endowment, $101 million from affordable housing trust funds, $40 million from the Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund, and $48 million from the Financial Institutions Regulatory Trust Fund.
Legislative reactions were not positive. Rep. David Rivera (R-Miami), House Appropriations Council Chair, said that the governor's budget was “not very helpful in providing a starting point.” Senate President Jeff Atwater (R-North Palm Beach) described the governor's assumptions as “rather optimistic” and warned against counting revenue from a Seminole gaming compact before a compact achieves the required legislative approval.