August 4, 2020

'Circumstances have changed': DeSantis approves slimmer $92.2 billion Florida budget [Tampa Bay Times]

This post was last updated on December 8, 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.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced more than $1 billion in vetoes to the state budget on Monday in an effort to blunt the state’s economic fallout from the coronavirus.

The cuts spared most of the governor’s largest priorities and brings the state budget to $92.2 billion. It also sets aside $6.3 billion in reserves to withstand expected shortfalls over the next fiscal year, which starts Wednesday.


The federal government has begun helping Florida by steering money to help replace some of the vetoed programs. Last week, officials announced the state had received $240 million in federal CARES Act money to help families hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic pay rent and mortgages. Half of it, $120 million, will be assigned to counties to give to its residents for rental and homeowner assistance programs.

But much of the CARES Act money can’t be used to fill budget shortfalls, and Congressional Republicans, including Sen. Rick Scott, have resisted giving more money to the states. Sadaf Knight, CEO of Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], a left-leaning think tank, criticized DeSantis for not doing more to advocate for more federal money. DeSantis is a former Congressman strongly allied with President Donald Trump.

'Our biggest concern is looking forward,' Knight said. 'This is not the end of the story.'"


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