Keeping the Cost of Living Low for Florida Families
Creating Safer Communities: This past year, Governor Scott, along with law enforcement, announced that Florida is at a 41-year low in crime. This low crime rate can be attributed to tougher sentencing laws that hold individuals accountable, rehabilitation efforts to treat addictions and underlying factors of criminal behavior and new technologies that help police prevent crime.
The Governor’s budget maintains Florida sentencing laws including the requirement that individuals serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before release; supports rehabilitation efforts that are effective in reducing Florida’s revolving door cycle in our prisons, known as the recidivism rate. Because of these effective programs and policies, Florida’s recidivism rate has dropped 4.9 percent in the past two years. This has not only resulted in safer communities due to fewer repeat crimes, but has also saved Florida taxpayers more than $44 million. The Governor’s budget will continue his efforts to reduce Florida’s recidivism rate, including investments of:
- $5.4 million to open a specialized inmate re-entry center that provides job training and placement skills for inmates within three years of release. Studies show that literacy and jobs play a significant role in ensuring that persons released from prison remain crime free, gain employment, and pay obligations including victim restitution and child support.
- $12.5 million to ensure Florida’s most dangerous prisons have optimum staffing and resources to ensure safety and security.
- $21.2 million of the $44 million saved to provide a performance bonus to employees of the Department of Corrections that helped reduce the recidivism rate by almost 5 percent over the past two years.
- $2.7 million to provide our state crime labs new technology and crime lab scientists that specialize in DNA, which has proven to be an effective tool in solvability of crimes.
- $190,000 to ensure the Office of Statewide Prosecutor has sufficient resources to prosecute individuals operating deadly and fraudulent pill mills. Since launching the Governor’s Statewide Pill Mill Drug Strike Forces in March of 2010, the number of fraudulent pill mills criminally dispensing dangerous and addictive narcotics has fallen dramatically and the number of deaths related to prescription overdoses has decreased.
- $4.4 million to provide an additional 20 judges and necessary support staff in the state court system based on the Florida Supreme Court’s Certification of Need for Additional Judges.
- $6 million for the Courts and Clerks of Court to continue their efforts on reducing pending foreclosure cases already filed in the court system.
Maintianing Correctional Facilities: The budget reflects an increase of $84.4 million for the Department of Corrections, including funding to fill critical security posts at high risk facilities, and targeted programs that continue to reduce Florida’s recidivism rate and protect Florida communities.
In addition, the Governor is recommending an additional $75 million to address current year deficits, avoiding lay-offs of security and other personnel.
There are no scheduled prison closures in the proposed budget. Over the past two years, more than $132 million was saved through consolidating over 19 facilities. There was no early release of inmates through this process.
Additionally, no major institutions are to be privatized. The budget does recommend privatizing the remaining 14 publicly operated work release centers for a savings of more than $4.4 million.
Governor Scott is recommending $7.6 million in funding to require ALL persons in a work release program to wear an electronic monitoring device while in the community to provide additional protections for the public. This is the first time all persons in work release will be required to follow these guidelines.
Department of Corrections is moving ahead with privatization of health services at 9 institutions in Region 4 with Wexford Health Services. The court ruling denying privatization of health services in Regions 1, 2 and 3 is under appeal with the First District Courts of Appeal.
Investing In At-Risk Youth: The Governor’s efforts to reduce juvenile crime are paying off. Implementation of alternative, less restrictive sanctions for misdemeanor offenses have significantly reduced demands for costly detention and residential commitment beds. The Governor further reduces excess beds in the system and redirects a portion of the savings into targeted front-end preventative programs for a net savings of $3.5 million. Specifically, Governor Scott’s budget provides:
- $618,000 to establish a PACE Center for Girls in Miami to provide high school education, counseling, and support for families and girls at risk. This past year, the Department of Juvenile Justice reported more than 1700 referrals for services for girls in Miami Dade went unmet.
- $1.5 million to expand juvenile prevention services into underserved rural areas. Increasing these services will result in keeping families together, reducing dropout rates, and continuing to reduce demands on juvenile detention and residential services.
Improving Law Enforcement Telecommunication: Governor Scott believes a key role of government is to provide the utmost security for the citizens of the state and emergency response. The following communications funding is recommended:
- Florida Interoperability Network and Mutual Aid: Governor Scott is proposing $3.5 million to continue to support the Florida Interoperability Network public safety system used for communication between entities during disaster events and multi-jurisdictional incidents.
- Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System: An additional $2.1 million is also recommended to continue working to enhance the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System by expanding the areas of mobile radio coverage to law enforcement entities in areas currently without service.
Supporting Healthier Communities: Governor Scott is focused on improving the cost, quality, and access of health care for Florida families. This year’s Recommended Budget is designed to improve the quality of services available to Floridians at a cost they can afford.
Investing in People with Disabilities: For the first time in eight years, additional funding for the Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver program will go toward serving individuals on the waiting list. This year’s budget includes $36.3 million to bring an estimated 750 individuals off of the waiting list and onto the waiver program. The waiver program provides home and community based services to assist people with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities will continue its successful efforts to provide services to this population in the most efficient manner possible so that more individuals can continue to be brought off of the waiting list in the future.
The Recommended Budget also provides $2.5 million to fund supported employment and supported internship services for 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities on the waiting list who have indicated that they would like to work.
Funding to Support the Elderly: This budget also proposes $24.2 million in increased funding to the Nursing Home Diversion Medicaid Waiver for individuals at risk of nursing home placement and the Aged and Disabled Adult Medicaid Waiver for the most frail of individuals by an additional $24.2 million. Keeping these individuals in their homes and community settings gives them the chance to age in the least restrictive environment possible. This funding will reduce the Nursing Home Diversion and Aged and Disabled Adult Waiver waitlists for the frailest individuals by 65 percent and 49 percent, respectively.
Supporting Biomedical Research: The Department of Health, in conjunction with the Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council, will direct Florida’s investment of $30 million in biomedical research towards the establishment of nationally recognized cancer research and treatment programs and comprehensive statewide cancer protocols. Transparency and quality will be the primary drivers of funding priority. Institutions that promote an integrated system of cancer care, are recognized as comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute, have been highly rated by national panels of peer reviews, have established collaborative state cancer care and research partnerships with a cancer hospital located in the state of Florida, and have the capability to provide treatments to both adults and children will be given top consideration. This initiative will move Florida closer to the Governor’s goal of being a cancer research and treatment destination, drawing patients, physicians, and professionals from all over.
Supporting Graduate Medical Education: Governor Scott’s Recommended Budget provides $80 million for graduate medical education and expands the Statewide Medicaid Residency Program at the Department of Health. This funding will improve access to and quality of care for Medicaid beneficiaries, expand graduate medical education on an equitable basis, and increase the supply of highly trained physicians statewide. During the 2011-2012 school year, Florida had 4,037 medical students and 3,616 residency positions – a deficit of 421 positions. This funding would support residency positions for more than 700 medical students, increasing the likelihood those students would practice medicine in Florida after completion of their education.
Physicians’ clinical decisions affect how up to 90 percent of every health care dollar is spent. Maintaining an adequate supply of physicians is paramount to ensuring that consumers have real choice in a competitive health care market. Florida’s supply of skilled physicians is and will continue to be greatly determined by the capacity of graduate medical education or residency slots available since location of the physician’s residency program is the best predictor of where a physician ends up practicing medicine. The caliber of residency training also impacts the quality of biomedical research by attracting physicians as faculty and mentors to the state.
Funding All-Payer Claims Database: Quality affordable healthcare is dependent upon an efficient and accountable healthcare market. The recommended budget provides $1 million to begin development of an All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) to promote a sound understanding of Florida’s health care market. Data compiled by an APCD stand to inspire innovations and benefit health care payers, providers, patients, researchers, and policymakers.
Funding Rape Crisis Centers: The Governor’s budget includes $2.5 million to enhance the efforts of the Florida Council against Sexual violence for 30 separate certified rape crisis centers statewide. Funding is intended to help the council raise the awareness of rape and sexual abuse, improve law enforcement and prosecutorial response and to ensure that victims have access to high-quality recovery services.
Funding Mental Health Services: The recommended budget maintains current levels of mental health funding across the state.
Medicaid and Public Benefits to Counter Fraud: Currently, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and other state agencies are limited in their efforts to catch fraud before it occurs. This budget provides $2.5 million to fund consulting services to provide an enhanced and predictive approach of collecting data, which will allow state agencies to deny unusual claims, investigate suspicious behavior, and address inappropriate payments within the Medicaid and public benefits programs. These new efforts will ensure quality and cost effectiveness within Florida’s public benefits programs. This new approach is expected to enhance the current recovery of $6.80 in Medicaid overpayments for every $1 spent in fraud prevention and recovery.
Budgetary Effects of the President’s Healthcare Law: The Florida Families First Budget includes a number of issues related to the President’s healthcare law. Following the Supreme Court ruling on the case, states were left with certain mandatory funding obligations as well as other optional program changes, including whether or not to expand Medicaid coverage to new populations. The Fiscal Year 2013-14 Recommended Budget only provides for the mandatory portions of the law.
The proposed budget provides funding for other unknown but likely costs, including an increase to fund the state cost of Floridians who are currently eligible but not enrolled in the Medicaid Program. The cost for their participation would not be 100 percent federally covered as the other new populations would be under the new healthcare law for the first three years. Similar to other states, we anticipate that 30 percent of Floridians who are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid will enter the system in the first year.
The budget includes increased rates for primary care practitioners in Medicaid at the Medicare rate. This will cost $703.5 million. The healthcare law provides 100 percent federal funding for this increase effective January 1, 2013, however, federal funds are not yet available.
The recommended budget includes $31.6 million for the Health Insurance Tax, of which $13.1 million will come from state funds. This is an annual tax placed on health insurance providers under the new law. This increase is based on preliminary estimates for the 2013-14 year for Medicaid premiums. Estimates in the Kidcare Program and state group insurance are unknown at this time.
Children ages 6 through 18 from 100 percent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level that are currently enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are now mandated to move to the Medicaid program. The budget includes a transfer of funds from the CHIP program to the Medicaid program, as required by the law.
Ensuring Equitable Treatment of State Employees in Health Coverage: As part of the Governor’s philosophy to promote equitable treatment of state employees, the budget proposes that all employees pay the same amount for health insurance coverage – $50 per month for individual coverage and $180 per month for family coverage. This will reduce the employer contribution for health insurance coverage for employees in the Senior Management Service and Selected Exempt Service systems.
Cost-Savings Measures in Healthcare: Healthcare services can be made more efficient by eliminating redundant services and those that are not statewide spending priorities. Healthcare cost-savings measures included in this proposed budget are:
- Hospital inpatient rate changes for hospitals except those with a children’s or rural specialty designation are asked to absorb $82 million ($33.5 million state/$48.3 million federal) in cost savings. For the hospitals impacted, Medicaid represents an average of 10 percent of their revenue – equal to less than 20 cents for every $100 of revenue.
- County health departments are asked to accept a $9.1 million change in their clinic service reimbursement rate. Medicaid reimbursement for care provided at a county health department is made based on an "all-inclusive encounter rate," which includes diagnosis, therapy and consultation for primary or prevention services. The current average encounter rate of approximately $150 is substantially higher than the fee-for-service rate paid to stand alone providers who deliver similar services in other clinic settings.
- During challenging economic times, the state must focus on supporting mandatory services ahead of optional services. Medicaid beneficiaries will continue to receive chiropractic and podiatry services from their primary doctor. In addition, with the upcoming implementation of Statewide Medicaid Managed Care, recipients enrolled in managed care will be able to choose among plans that offer expanded benefits. Chiropractic and podiatry services may be offered as expanded benefits if the plans choose to include these services for potential enrollees. To achieve additional cost savings in the Governor’s proposed budget, $758,000 for chiropractic services and $2.7 million for podiatrist programs are eliminated.
- The proposed budget also calls for $7.5 million in cost savings for the Epilepsy Service Program. The program provides services that are currently available from other providers, including: Epilepsy University, the 52 federally qualified health services, health care taxing districts, and epilepsy non-service providers such as the United Way, various health care foundations and other public and private sources.
Supporting Vulnerable Youths: Governor Scott believes that the education is essential for leading a productive life for young people to contribute to society. Some youth require a second chance due to a number of factors they have encountered that may have gotten them off track. The Governor’s budget includes the following investments in vulnerable youth:
- $750,000 in funding to continue to support the About Face program to provide summer and after-school life preparation for the socioeconomically disadvantaged and at-risk youth. The training provided by this program provides struggling and disadvantaged students with additional support to help ensure a rewarding future.
- $1,250,000 in funding to continue to support the Forward March program to provide job-readiness services at selected armories around the state for Work and Gain Economics Self Sufficiency (WAGES) recipients and other qualifying young adults. The training is based on topics that directly relate to the skills required for employment and real-world success.
- $113,450 is recommended to support the Youth Challenge program located at Camp Blanding by providing replacement equipment. The program fosters academics, personal growth, and physical fitness for an average of 300 high school dropouts annually.
- $1 billion in federal funding to administer the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, which assist schools and other agencies in providing nutritious meals to children at reasonable prices. Funds will be used to implement new meal patterns for the programs pursuant to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Supporting Community Development: Florida Families First reflects the Governor’s continued support of low to moderate-income families through the revitalization of commercial areas serving low-income residents and rebuilding distressed neighborhoods in order to stimulate economic growth and development. Governor Scott’s Recommended Budget for FY 2013-14 includes:
- $50 million for Affordable Housing / State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP) provides funds to local governments on a population-based formula as an incentive to produce and preserve affordable housing to very low, low and moderate income families.
- $30 million in Small Community Development Grants to fund a series of programs focusing on low and moderate income persons, improving housing, and supporting infrastructure improvements that lead to job growth.
- $18 million in Weatherization Grants to assist low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills and make homes more energy efficient.
- $1.45 million for Technical Assistance to Local Governments for innovative planning and development strategies to promote a diverse economy and vibrant communities.
- Approximately $3 million Supporting Florida’s Military Presence and Families, at, supports the state’s position in military research and development and provides a military-friendly environment as well as assist defense-dependent communities in the diversification of their economies.
Cultural/Historical and Libraries: In the area of Cultural and Historical Grants, the Governor recommends $3.9 million to provide support to cultural and historical projects. Cultural and historic preservation grants create jobs and provide entrepreneurial opportunities, stimulating job growth and economic development. They also contribute greatly as an educational resource to Florida’s teachers, children, and families.
The Governor continues to support State Aid to Libraries with a recommendation of $20.2 million. Florida public libraries support a strong economy and provide a network of information that plays an integral part in supporting Florida’s families and their communities.
Aerial Photography and Fiscally Constrained Counties: The Governor proposes $75,000 to support the state in providing aerial photographs every three years to counties with a population of 25,000 or less in order to ensure the integrity of local property tax rolls.
Governor Scott also recommends $24 million for fiscally constrained counties to offset the savings in ad valorem tax revenue occurring as a result of two constitutional amendments approved by voters in 2008.
Disaster Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation Emergency Management: The Governor’s Recommended Budget for FY 2013-14 includes $254 million in financial assistance to state and local governments for public awareness, outreach programs, floods, and disaster mitigation programs.
Protecting Florida’s Economy, Water Supply, and Environment through the Restoration of America’s Everglades: Governor Scott’s budget doubles the funding for Everglades restoration, providing $60 million in the proposed budget. Restoring America’s Everglades means reestablishing its natural water flow to the 2.4 million-acre marsh, reviving habitat for more than 60 threatened and endangered species, creating a reliable water supply for millions of Floridians and providing flood control to south Florida.
In order to implement the Governor’s water quality plan for the Everglades and continue the State’s commitment to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), this funding will be used for the design, engineering and construction of projects for the Governor’s water quality plan, CERP, the Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan, the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River Watershed Protection Plan. In addition, funding is provided to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for implementation of agricultural nonpoint source controls in the Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee, and St. Lucie River watersheds.
Protecting Florida’s Springs, Lakes, Rivers, and Estuaries: With more than 7,700 lakes and 700 fresh water springs, 4,500 square miles of estuaries and bays, more than 50,000 miles of rivers and streams and countless wetlands throughout the state, protecting water quality through proper wastewater/storm water and drinking water management, total maximum daily loads, nonpoint source pollution controls, and providing water restoration projects is vital to maintaining our quality of life.
Through Governor Scott’s leadership and funding for improved water resource protection, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has adopted more water quality criteria in the last year than in any year in the previous decade. Over the last three years, DEP has developed a better understanding of nutrient impacts to water bodies, leading to the establishment of numeric nutrient criteria that will increase protection of Florida's waters. In addition, Governor Scott’s budget provides an additional $6 million for water quality restoration to protect springs, and provides $1.1 million for agriculture water conservation measures targeted at the area of the state with the most first magnitude springs, and directs Florida Forever funding to focus in part, on acquiring lands needed for springs protection.
Governor Scott’s budget also provides the following funding for water resource protection:
- Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Grants - $14.4 million
- Total Maximum Daily Loads - $9.4 million (Increase of $1.6 million from FY 12-13)
- $3 million will be used for water quality restoration, addressing nitrates in impaired or priority springs
- Funds will be used for local projects to reduce nutrient inputs in springs and ground water, restoring the ecological integrity of these vital resources
- Agriculture Water Conservation - $1.1 million (Leveraging a total three-year investment of $11.5 million to replace aging center pivot irrigation systems)
- Protecting spring flows and restoring springs with the Suwannee River water management district - $3 million
- Apalachicola Bay Restoration – $3 million
- Water Quality Planning and Restoration Projects - $3.3 million
- Drinking Water Facility Construction - $72.9 million (Increase of $4.9 million from FY 12-13)
- Wastewater Treatment Facility/Storm water Construction - $142.7 million (Increase of $10.9 million from FY 12-13)
- Lake Restoration - $4.7 million
Protecting Beaches: Over 220 miles of beaches, or 55 percent of the beaches designated as critically eroded, have been restored and maintained through partnerships with local, state, and federal governments. Governor Scott’s budget provides $25 million of financial assistance to local and state governments and special taxing authorities for beach and dune restoration, beach nourishment, inlet sand bypassing, regional sediment management and innovative projects. This funding adds to the over $393 million for beach and inlet management provided over the last 10 years.
Ensuring Generations of Floridians Can Enjoy Florida’s Natural Treasures Florida Forever: As of August 31, 2012, more than 2.4 million acres throughout the state have been placed in public ownership under Florida Forever and its predecessor program, Preservation 2000 (P2000). Florida Forever has conserved habitats for 394 protected species, including 166, which are on the federal or state endangered lists. Collectively the state of Florida has protected over 682,000 acres of land with $2.86 billion in Florida Forever funds as of August 31, 2012. All of these lands are held in trust for the citizens of the state, providing endless recreational opportunities for Florida’s families and visitors.
Governor Scott’s budget provides $75 million for the Florida Forever program, $50 million of which is provided as budget authority from the proceeds of the sale of surplus state-lands and $25 million of which comes from the General Revenue fund. These funds will be used for conservation lands needed for springs protection, military buffering or water resource protection. Funds can also be spent on land acquisitions that are less-than-fee interest or for partnerships where the state’s portion of the acquisition cost is no more than 50 percent.
Maintaining State Parks: In addition to the 161 state parks, the Florida Park Service manages the state’s greenways and trails. Through resource, historical, and cultural–based interpretation, the goal of the Florida Park Service is to help create a sense of place by showing park visitors the best of Florida’s diverse natural and cultural sites. More than 24.9 million people visited Florida’s state parks and state trails in Fiscal Year 2011-12, an increase of almost 700,000 people from the previous fiscal year. Governor Scott’s budget provides the following funding for state parks and coastal aquatic managed areas:
- State Park Facility Improvements ($19 million, an increase of $6 million)
- National Recreation Trail/Facility Grants ($6.5 million)
- Resource Management & Historic Structure Repairs ($6 million)
- Maintenance and Repairs for Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas ($200,000)
Providing a Clean Environment to Protect Florida Families: Governor Scott’s budget provides the following funding for waste management activities (proposed total of $176 million):
- Dry Cleaning/Site Cleanup ($5 million, an increase of $1 million)
- Hazardous Waste/Site Cleanup ($9.3 million)
- Cleanup of Contaminated State Lands ($1 million)
- Underground Petroleum Storage Tank Cleanup ($151.3 million, an increase of $10 million)
- Petroleum Storage Tank Inspections ($7 million)
- Solid Waste Management Grants ($2.4 million)