The Florida Legislature recently passed a $74.5 billion dollar budget, that is up $4.5 billion from last year. Elected officials say the states economy is recovering and more people are moving here and paying that 6% sales tax. District 6 State Representative Jimmy Patronis says Florida has a lot to be proud of. Our sales tax is only six percent, that is pretty low compared to a lot of states.
"Well and granted, there is a local option in places that are contemplated, but yeah, there is a sales tax in florida is very reasonable, says Rep. Patronis. "And if you look at it, a little snapshot, there's as many people living in Florida as there is in the state of New York, but the state of New York's state budget is twice the size of Floridas, so we do a pretty remarkable job with the resources we have.
As for incentives for businesses to attract industry here, Rep. Patronis says the legislature gave the Governor the tools he needs to recruit new companies and bring much needed jobs. Just a couple of weeks ago, Hertz Rental Cars decided to relocate it's corporate headquarters in Ft. Myers.
And what about pay raises for teachers ? "Teachers will have the ability to go as high as $3,500 dollars now a couple little challenges are, is each one of these individual school districts all 67 have their own agreements with their own teachers unions, Patronis says. State employees will also see a pay raise this year, the first one in at least seven years.