By
FPI Staff
|
June 19, 2020

35 Organizations to DeSantis: Preserve Crucial Public Services in State Budget

35 Organizations to DeSantis: Preserve Crucial Public Services in State Budget

In a joint letter, Florida Policy Institute (FPI) and 35 organizations from across the state called on Governor Ron DeSantis to pursue "every available avenue" to preserve hard-won  priorities in the fiscal year 2020-21 budget.

Specifically, the group urged DeSantis to take the following actions in order to address potential budget gaps:

  • Lobby the Trump Administration and Florida’s congressional delegation for more federal aid to states and localities to address revenue losses. Moody’s Analytics predicts that Florida will have an $8 billion revenue shortfall. Without additional aid, the state is facing a fiscal cliff. Governors from both parties have urged action for additional state support. 
  • Advocate for an FMAP increase and extension. The most effective, flexible, and efficient form of state fiscal relief would be a larger increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid that continues until the economy fully recovers. The Families First Act provided a small, temporary increase in federal Medicaid funding — an estimated $1.69 billion for Florida — but that increase is not enough and will end prematurely. An additional FMAP increase would help the state’s Medicaid program respond to the additional health care demands resulting from COVID-19 while freeing up state funds to be spent in other urgent areas. 
  • Advocate for retroactive flexibility in federal CARES Act aid. Florida received $8.3 billion from the CRF, with $2.5 billion going directly to local governments. However, guidance issued by the US Department of Treasury states that “funds may not be used to fill shortfalls in government revenue” and that “revenue replacement is not a permissible use of Fund payments.” States need revised guidance in order to buoy state budgets and boost families and communities facing hardship. Added flexibility for CRF funds will increase the likelihood that these funds can be used to preserve budget priorities. 
  • Work with the Legislature to identify common-sense measures to raise state revenue. After the Revenue Estimating Conference releases updated revenue figures and Congress weighs in with additional state aid, the scope of Florida’s budget gap will become clearer. But the fiscal challenges the state faces are not just immediate — revenue must be raised to address longer-term problems. Florida loses billions each year in revenue through tax loopholes that have allowed the wealthiest Floridians to avoid paying what they owe. Measures such as enforcing the sales tax on online sales, eliminating tax exemptions for luxury items, holding corporations accountable for their tax liability, and eliminating subsidies for revenue-losing programs can raise the revenue needed to maintain the state’s priorities now and into the future.

The following organizations signed on to the letter:

Florida Policy Institute

Alianza for Progress

Allegany Franciscan Ministries

Catalyst Miami

Daystar Life Center, Inc.

Faith in Public Life

Farmworkers Self-Help Inc.

Fines and Fees Justice Center

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans

Florida Association of Nonprofits

Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy

Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Florida Children's Council

Florida Conservation Voters

Florida Health Justice Project

Florida Housing Coalition

Florida Impact to End Hunger

Florida PTA

Florida Voices for Health

Habitat for Humanity of Florida

League of Women Voters of Florida

Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.

Miami Freedom Project

NAACP Upper Pinellas County

National Association of Social Workers - Florida

Opportunity For All Floridians

Progress Florida

QLatinx

Second Harvest Food Bank

Star of the Sea Foundation, Inc.

The Children’s Campaign

The Common Ground Project

The Community Health Center of West Palm Beach

UnidosUS

United Way of Broward County

United Way of Florida


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