By
Esteban Leonardo Santis, PhD
|
September 15, 2021

A Working Floridians Tax Rebate for a Stronger and More Equitable Florida

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Executive Summary


Floridians who are paid lower wages spend significantly more of their income on state and local taxes than those with high income. This is because the state lacks a personal income tax and relies mostly on the sales tax to raise revenue. The state’s upside-down tax code also exacerbates racial inequity because Floridians with low income are more likely to be people of color. While often marketed as a “low tax” state, the truth is that Florida’s tax system is the second most regressive in the nation — favoring those who make the most, squeezing those who earn the least, and exacerbating income inequality among communities of color.

Policymakers can help build more prosperous communities and strengthen future generations by ensuring more workers and their families can make ends meet. The Working Floridians Tax Rebate — Florida’s state-level Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) — is a proven way to increase economic stability and opportunity, boost local economic activity, and improve child and community well-being. Among all likely Florida voters, 68 percent support enacting a state EITC. 

By creating a Working Floridians Tax Rebate, policymakers can provide the following benefits to their communities: 

  • A fairer tax code that strengthens economic and racial equity: Floridians with low- to moderate-income, who are disproportionately Black and Latina/o, shoulder more of the costs of roads, schools, and health care. The Working Floridians Tax Rebate would help fix Florida’s upside-down tax code by lowering their share of these costs, which currently squeeze families experiencing inadequate wages and growing living costs. All told, the rebate would improve the lives of 2.1 million Florida workers and their families. 
  • An economic boost to local businesses: The Working Floridians Tax Rebate would increase families’ disposable income and pump about $862 million each year into the Florida economy. 
  • Firmer pathways to success for Florida’s children: Decades of research from other states show that children in families that receive the EITC have higher math and reading test scores and are more likely to finish high school, obtain college degrees, and have higher wages. Many of the EITC’s educational benefits are more significant for boys and Black and Latina/o children. Thus, the Working Floridians Tax Rebate will help families afford the basics now and provide a path to upward mobility for future generations.

Thirty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and localities such as New York City and Montgomery County, Maryland, have enacted their own versions of the EITC. Florida lawmakers should follow their lead by creating a Working Floridians Tax Rebate set at 20 percent of the federal EITC. A state tax rebate of this size would put $1.08 billion back in people’s pockets, with an estimated average rebate of nearly $500. The rebate would also offer a multigenerational investment, increasing family income, reducing child poverty, and improving health, education, and career outcomes for years to come. 

County-Level Data

Alachua
Baker
Bay
Bradford
Brevard
Broward
Calhoun
Charlotte
Citrus
Clay
Collier
Columbia
DeSoto
Dixie
Duval
Escambia
Flagler
Franklin
Gadsden
Gilchrist
Glades
Gulf
Hamilton
Hardee
Hendry
Hernando
Highlands
Hillsborough
Holmes
Indian River
Jackson
Jefferson
Lafayette
Lake
Lee
Leon
Levy
Madison
Manatee
Marion
Martin
Miami-Dade
Monroe
Nassau
Okaloosa
Okeechobee
Orange
Osceola
Palm Beach
Pasco
Pinellas
Polk
Putnam
Santa Rosa
Sarasota
Seminole
St. Johns
St. Lucie
Sumter
Suwannee
Taylor
Union
Volusia
Wakulla
Walton
Washington

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