April 28, 2020

Federal CARES Act Money Won't Cover Florida's Revenue Shortfalls, Non-Profit Think Tank Warns [WJCT]

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.

Ryan Dailey of WJCT writes:

"Non-profit think-tank the Florida Policy Institute, which describes itself as non-partisan, is warning state leadership that money earmarked for Florida through the federal CARES act won’t cover state budgetary shortfalls.

A massive spike in unemployment will lead to depressed sales tax revenue, and the Institute’s analysts claim COVID-19 will cause disruption worse than that of the Great Recession. Out of a $150 billion federal coronavirus relief fund for states and local governments, $4.6 billion is going to Florida.

Although, none of that money can go toward supplementing revenue losses for the state, says the Policy Institute’s CEO Sadaf Knight [emphasis added].

'It included some stipulations on which expenses would be allowable under the coronavirus Relief Fund, or CRF, and it did not include spending to directly address revenue shortfalls,' Knight said on a media call held by the Institute Tuesday.  This was confirmed last week in additional guidance that was published from the U.S. Department of Treasury, which states that CRF funds cannot be used to backfill revenue losses and shore up state budgets.'"


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