ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” enables the Florida National Guard to remain ready and be successful in its national, state and local missions.
Governor Scott’s recommended budget of $78.5 million will assist the Florida Department of Military Affairs targets with enhanced facilities, for education incentives for Guardsmen through the Education Dollars for Duty program, and community programs operated out of armories for Florida citizens.
Governor Scott’s recommended budget includes $12.5 million to renovate five National Guard Readiness Centers (armories) that serve as the core of our hometown-based units. The ongoing renovation and recurring maintenance of aging armories throughout the state is critical to the readiness of Florida National Guard members. The National Guard will use these facilities for their training and are also key facilities during domestic emergencies that require Guardsmen to mobilize.
Under Governor Scott’s leadership, many of these centers have already been revitalized which greatly increased the Florida National Guard’s ability to gain new units with increased capabilities and made the buildings more energy efficient. Additionally, keeping these facilities upgraded enhances the morale of the force, helping attract and keep valued Soldiers and Airmen.
Additional funding totaling $1 million will cover maintenance, repair and future upgrade costs of the armories which have already been revitalized. These armories have proven to have an economic impact of nearly $477 million to the state and are valued at nearly $313 million.
Governor Scott’s budget also recommends funding of $2.5 million for the design and construction of a 10,000 square- foot facility for the Florida Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group. This facility will contribute to this specialized unit’s ongoing training and readiness and allow them to move out of their current facility which was constructed in the 1950s, and is deteriorating because of leaking roofs and mold.
The Florida National Guard appreciates Governor Scott’s commitment to the education of its military members by recommending additional funding of $1.7 million for the “Educational Dollars for Duty” (EDD), bringing the total funding up to the needed $3.5 million to maintain the program.
“One of the great opportunities the Florida National Guard has to offer is being able to continue our education – not just to obtain a higher education level – but to build our knowledge base for the National Guard and life itself,” Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw said. “Thanks to Governor Scott’s leadership we have the opportunity to encourage our members to pursue higher education.”
The Florida National Guard hosts many community-related programs that add value back to Florida communities. Two of the key programs receiving continued funding are Forward March and About Face, for which Governor Scott recommends funding totaling $2 million.
Forward March has been offered to young adults ages 18 to 21 since 1998. The program provided more than 9,000 Floridians the services they need to seek, secure and succeed in a high-demand profession. Participants receive instruction in authoring resumes and cover letters, preparing for and succeeding in interviews, and excelling and advancing in the workplace. The year-round program also features an effective job-placement component.
About Face provides youth ages 14 to 18 with life skills training in key areas such as critical thinking and decision making, practical skills such as the development of a personal budget and management of a checking account, and basic work skills. Since 1997, more than 25,000 youth have used the program as a launching pad to greater academic, life, and career success.