September 26, 2018

Amendment 5 Would Shift Costs for Services to Cash-Strapped Local Governments

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.

Local governments rely on state support to provide programs and services that meet the needs of their residents. From public safety and transportation, to culture and recreation, state dollars are crucial for counties, municipalities and school districts, especially those in rural areas. This funding allows local governments to provide a range of programs and services, and to perform general government functions. Without this support, local governments would be forced to either cut programs or raise taxes locally to fill funding gaps.

On November 6, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 5, which would make it much harder for the state to provide adequate support to municipal and county governments. The measure would require a two-thirds (supermajority) vote of the state Legislature to approve any new state revenues, taxes and fees, or to eliminate tax incentives, loopholes and other such expenditures.  

Florida currently has the wrong priorities, giving special tax breaks to big corporations while cutting funding for local governments to provide essential programs and services. 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.

Amendment 5 Puts Local Government Support at Risk

State support is critical for large-scale projects like infrastructure, transportation and affordable housing. These are significant investments that require a partnership between state and local governments to adequately plan and fund. In 2016, the state provided a total of $2.8 billion across counties, which accounted for 7 percent of all county budgets (see the Appendix for county-by-county details).State support for municipalities totaled $1.5 billion, accounting for 4.2 percent of all municipal budgets.

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