Holly Bullard
August 22, 2018

Amendment 5 Would Put Florida's Higher Education Funding at Risk

This post was last updated on September 29, 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.

The future of Florida’s economy depends on the preparation of its workforce. High-paying employers are attracted to states with highly-skilled, educated workers and innovative, well-resourced universities. Though Florida has recently increased funding for higher education, general revenue funding has yet to return to pre-recession levels, dampening the educational opportunities for Floridians who are looking to improve their skills and get better jobs.

On November 6, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 5, which would make generating resources to meet the needs of Florida’s college students and institutions of higher learning much harder. If this measure passes, Amendment 5 wouldestablish a supermajority requirement to approve any new state revenues, taxes and fees, or to eliminate tax incentives, loopholes and other expenditures.

Florida currently has the wrong priorities, giving special tax breaks to big corporations while spending less on Florida colleges and universities. Amendment 5 locks in these failed priorities before the state has a chance to recover from deep cuts following the Great Recession, and a supermajority requirement would likely require huge funding cuts in the wake of another fiscal crisis. Amendment 5 would unnecessarily restrict investments in Florida’s future.

Higher Education is Key to Economic Growth and Individual Prosperity

While about as many people are working in Florida as before the recession, they are making less in wages and are less financially secure. The high prevalence of low wage jobs in Florida has severely limited the economic mobility of millions of residents. In 2016, the share of Florida workers making under $10 an hour jumped to 20.1 percent, the highest level since 2005.The median wage for the state in 2016, $16.03 an hour, was the lowest in over 11 years.Eroded by the growing cost of living, Florida’s low wages prevent nearly 1 in 2 Floridians from making ends meet. The United Way ALICE report reveals that in 2016, 46 percent of Floridians had incomes that fell below a basic “survival budget” level.

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