September 15, 2021

1 in 5 Working Floridians Would Benefit Under New Legislation Creating the Working Floridians Tax Rebate

Bill aims to strengthen racial equity and make the state tax code fairer

MIAMI, Fla. - New legislation filed this morning by Senator Shevrin Jones (D-Broward) would help fix Florida’s unfair tax code — considered one of the most upside-down in the nation — by implementing the Working Floridians Tax Rebate (WFTR) set at 20 percent of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

More than 2.1 million working Floridians would see a rebate under the WFTR, which would inject roughly $862 million each year into the state economy, according to a just-released Florida Policy Institute (FPI) report.

Thirty states already have their own version of the EITC, a common-sense tax break that reduces poverty and helps people with low-to-moderate income make ends meet — benefitting their families, communities, and local economies.

“The federal earned income tax credit delivers valuable relief to millions of working Americans nationwide each year, especially those with children,” said Senator Jones. “It’s long past time for Florida to implement a state-based version and provide a much-needed boost for our most vulnerable Floridians. The Working Floridians Tax Rebate program will increase families’ purchasing power, reduce poverty, and improve children’s long-term educational and health outcomes.”

“People struggling to get by on low wages should not be paying a greater share of household income in state and local taxes than millionaires are, yet this is how Florida’s current tax code is structured,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI. “A Working Floridians Tax Rebate would help address the state’s upside-down tax code, which currently places a disproportionate burden on people of color and people with low income. The rebate would also put money back into the pockets of Sunshine State workers and boost the state and local economies.”

“Catalyst Miami has been serving low wealth families in the local community for over two decades. Our work preparing tax returns has allowed us to assist and educate constituents on tax preparation and policy, and also better understand the pain points for many families. Tax credits, like EITC, are a lifeline for so many families with limited assets,” said Gretchen Beesing, CEO of Catalyst Miami. “A working Floridians tax rebate is a step in the right direction to repair Florida's regressive tax system while putting money back in the pockets of the families that drive our economy.”

“The Working Floridians Tax Rebate Bill is important for folks like me, who are just returning to work again and need extra assistance for economic mobility,” said Alecia Tramel, an HIV/AIDS advocate, founder of the Positive People's Network, and proud Catalyst to the Capital Ambassador.

“Florida Hispanics need a state-based EITC like the one proposed in the Working Floridians Tax Rebate bill to help millions of working families make ends meet, reduce poverty, and help families save for the future,” said Jared Nordlund, Florida State Director of UnidosUS. “These tax credits can boost our local economies by increasing the amount of money spent on goods and services, covering rent, and paying off loans. It’s a win-win for all of Florida.”

Florida lawmakers could invest in the WFTR by raising revenue in any number of ways. FPI’s report identified four tax code reforms that together would generate $2 billion annually, more than enough to finance the WFTR:

  • skipping sales tax holidays;
  • enacting combined reporting so multistate corporations stop avoiding taxes and pay their share;
  • leveraging revenue from the 2021 gaming compact; and
  • amending the new online sales tax law so that new revenue generated goes toward the rebate.

FPI is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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Implementing a Working Floridians Tax Rebate

A state EITC would provide a much-needed boost to Floridians

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