May 5, 2020

Coronavirus recovery: More federal aid needed to shore up Florida’s economy

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.

The most recent coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress includes assistance for small businesses and aid for hospitals and testing. This is critical funding. Our state is nearing a recession and suffering caused by the coronavirus continues to grow. But this bill has a significant omission: additional aid for states and localities to address unprecedented budget shortfalls.

Florida’s Legislature passed a $93.2 billion budget in March, which included long-awaited investments in teacher pay, affordable housing, and conservation. Without additional federal government aid, these areas, among many others, hang in the balance.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and our powerful congressional delegation must advocate for additional fiscal relief. While the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) included in the federal CARES act, along with other federal aid, are important first steps toward addressing the COVID-19 crisis, they should not be the last. Notably, the Treasury Department confirmed that the CRF can’t be used to make up for lost revenue.


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