January 14, 2021

44 Florida-Based Orgs Warn Against ‘Counterproductive’ Budget Cuts, Call on State Leaders to Fix State’s Broken Tax Code

Nonprofits and advocacy groups urge the governor and legislative leaders to seek revenue-raising solutions to Florida’s revenue shortfall

ORLANDO, FL - A group of 44 nonprofits, advocacy and faith-based organizations, and others from across the state today called on Governor Ron DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson, and House Speaker Chris Sprowls to clean up Florida’s tax code and keep budget priorities intact during the next fiscal year.

Back in July, the governor instructed agencies to submit a list of possible reductions for fiscal year 2021-22 of at least 10 percent in General Revenue Fund dollars and 10 percent in State Trust Fund dollars.

In a joint letter, the signees, which include Florida Policy Institute (FPI), Alliance for Public Schools, UnidosUS, Florida Conservation Voters (FCV), and SEIU Florida Public Services Union, expressed concern “that the state is contemplating counterproductive budget cuts” and urged state leaders to review FPI’s 21-point list of revenue-raising solutions. The three proposals mentioned in the letter, returning to a corporate income tax rate of 5.5 percent, closing corporate tax loopholes, and requiring remote sellers and online marketplaces to collect sales taxes, would generate $1.7 billion in annual revenue, according to FPI.

“With legislative session underway, policymakers need to focus on bolstering communities and the people hit hardest by COVID-19: Floridians facing food insecurity, joblessness, and evictions,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI, the group spearheading the sign-on letter. “The best way to budget during an economic downtown is to preserve public services — things like access to affordable health care and workforce development programs — by enacting revenue-raising solutions that have proved effective in other states.”

“During this dire crisis, Florida legislators must not balance the budget at the expense of our children, who have already endured so much,” said Melissa Erickson, executive director of the Alliance for Public Schools. “Instead, these unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions. Legislators must get creative and seek out new revenue sources to ensure children their constitutional right to a high quality public education.”

“COVID-19 has exposed and worsened social inequality in our state, especially for Hispanic Floridians,” said Jared Nordlund, senior strategist for civic engagement at UnidosUS. “Floridians are struggling, and evidence shows that hardship is disproportionately worse for the elderly, individuals with disabilities, communities of color, those who have been incarcerated, and women. A well-designed revenue system must prioritize investments in programs that help those in need and make sure that everyone contributes their fair share to ensure Florida thrives in the long-term.”

"Florida’s economy and our quality of life rely on a clean and healthy environment. But climate change, reckless development, and pollution threaten our health and everything we love about our state," said Aliki Moncrief, executive director of Florida Conservation Voters. "The Florida Legislature has an obligation to meet the needs of our natural environments and everyone who calls Florida home. Finding racially just and equitable solutions to our funding crisis is key to protecting Florida for future generations.”

"As we look towards hope on the horizon and finally coming out of this crisis, we can’t turn our backs on all those who risked their lives to stand with us and all of those who still need our help,” said Angie Nixon, higher education director at SEIU Florida Public Services Union. “If there’s one thing we can’t deny after living through this pandemic it’s that we need more investment in our essential services, not less.”

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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