DeSantis seeks tax relief in proposed $114B budget

By Andrew Powell | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Tallahassee Wednesday to discuss his “Framework for Freedom” budget.

DeSantis’ proposed $114.8 billion budget contains some tax relief measures as the economy in the Sunshine State has performed far better than other states. Last year the state surplus was over $20 billion, and DeSantis stated that this money needs to go back to the people.

“Where you have a growing state where there’s infrastructure needs, you don’t want to just have all this money just sitting there because that’s telling me that you’re not doing as good a job as you need to be doing, returning money back to the people with tax relief.” DeSantis said.

Several tax relief initiatives have already started as of Jan. 1 after a December special session gave $500 million to Floridians in toll relief, saving some hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in a year.

“We’re going to continue to lead on fiscal responsibility and make sure that our state is not drowning in debt,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis unveiled a long list of other essential items that will become permanently tax free including diapers and baby products like wipes, food, clothing, cribs and strollers.

Pet owners will no longer pay tax for over the counter pet medications, as DeSantis pointed out, “they’re parts of our family too, and these are things that you need to do.”

This also includes no taxes for pet food.

Household items under $25 will be getting a one-year tax-free holiday, from everything from trash bags to detergents.

All dental hygiene products are tax free, and this also includes toiletries.

Parents of school children will also benefit from the massive $1.5 billion relief package as children’s books, toys and equipment will now be tax free and when it comes time to purchase new school stationary, there will be a continuation of the already existing 14-day tax holiday to purchase these items.

Disaster preparation will continue with a two-week sales tax holiday for all approved merchandise and DeSantis added that the budget will also cover funds specifically set aside for any future disasters.

Teachers will be offered pay increases to retain and recruit more staff, with $1 billion allocated for that purpose.

Law enforcement agencies such as the Highway Patrol and Fish and Wildlife are likewise going to get pay increases to help recruit and retain staff. There are bonuses of up to $5,000 for new hires included in the governor’s budget.

Over $330 million will be allocated to health services for women and children, including enhanced services for pregnant women and postpartum.

Around $9 million has been allocated for Alzheimer’s research and services and DeSantis also added that $20 million will be for fighting the fentanyl crisis.

Rural communities are also getting a boost with increased infrastructure such as high speed internet access.

Citrus County provides EMS Transition FAQ’s

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Sept. 14 affirmed that providing timely, dependable, and fiscally responsible Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was paramount to the citizens of Citrus County. The Board, as a result, voted to end their partnership with Nature Coast EMS (NCEMS) and transition these responsibilities to Citrus County Fire Rescue (CCFR).

To assist the public in understanding this transition, the County has prepared this list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) related to the process:

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County knits EMS into fire rescue division

BOCC SealThe Board of County Commissioners affirmed yesterday that providing timely, dependable and fiscally responsible Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was paramount to the citizens of Citrus County.

The Board, as a result, voted to end their partnership with Nature Coast EMS and transition these responsibilities to Citrus County Fire Rescue.

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Inverness Sertoman appointed to MPO Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board

Inverness Sertoma Club is pleased to announcee that long time member Bud Osborn has been appointed by the Citrus County Board of Commissioners to serve on the Hernando/Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board (LCB), representing veteran interests.

Walter “Bud” Osborn has been a member of the Inverness Sertoma Club for the past nineteen years and has been involved in club leadership projects along with serving on the Sertoma Regional Board and Sertoma National board of directors in Kansas City, Missouri.

He serves, or has served, on the board of Sertoma supported Camp Endeavor, a summer camp for deaf and hearing-impaired children, Sertoma Youth Ranch, and locally, the Citrus County Historic Advisory Board, the Citrus County Veterans Advisory Board and the Too Far organization, dedicated to protecting our precious natural water resources.

“As a past local business owner I believe giving back monetarily is important, but even more important is giving of your time, talents and expertise to better your community,” said Bud. “We all have skills; folks just need to get out there and find their niche.”

The primary purpose of the MPO Local Coordinating Board is to identify local service needs and provide information, advice, and direction to the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC) regarding services for the Transportation Disadvantaged population.

The Citrus County Transportation Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board (LCB), chaired by Citrus County commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach, oversees the CTC for Citrus County which is Citrus County Transit. The Hernando/Citrus MPO has been designated as the official planning agency for the Local Coordinating Boards of Hernando County (TDLCB) and Citrus County (LCB).

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Adjusted county impact fees take effect June 23

BOCC SealAt the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting held on March 23, a vote passed approving an amendment to the Citrus County Impact Fee Ordinance.

This amendment will update impact fees for transportation, schools, parks, libraries, law enforcement, fire rescue, EMS and public buildings to ensure they continue to be based on the most current and local data available.

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