By
FPI Staff
|
August 5, 2020

Florida Budget (FY 2020-21): Natural Resources, Environment, Growth Management, Transportation

This post was last updated on July 22, 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.

Current Landscape 

In a disaster-prone state like Florida, investment in environmental conservation efforts and updated state infrastructure are of the utmost importance. Such investments are particularly important in South Florida, where climate equity and gentrification are growing issues of concern. The rising sea levels have made higher elevation properties more desirable to investors and developers, putting low-income families who reside in these regions at risk of being displaced.

A study by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research noted that “hurricanes, tropical storms and other shocks have a negative effect on the attractiveness of the state to visitors and state tax revenues. Depending on the magnitude of the shock, the state may need to spend additional dollars to restore the beaches while also experiencing reduced revenues.” Not only do natural disasters impact tourism, they also cause economic and physical devastation within impacted communities.

The ASCE gave Florida an overall grade of “C” in its 2016 Infrastructure Report Card, with even lower grades on indicators like coastal areas, drinking water, schools, and stormwater. Moreover, while the governor claims that “Florida has one of the best transportation systems in the country,” the reality is that the state is in dire need of increased funding and long-term planning, especially with regard to public transportation. According to the ASCE scorecard, a nominal 2 percent of commutes to work in Florida were made via public transit, which points to low quality and availability.

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