June 19, 2020

FPI, 35 Organizations Call on DeSantis to Preserve Crucial Public Services in State Budget

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.

Group urges governor to lobby for more federal aid and look to revenue-raising solutions to ensure families weather the COVID-19 crisis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Policy Institute (FPI) today joined 35 organizations across the state in calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to “pursue every available avenue” — including pushing for more federal aid and closing tax loopholes — to preserve hard-won priorities in the state budget.

The joint letter notes that governors from both parties in other states have urged action for additional state support.

The state Legislature sent the fiscal year 2020-21 budget to the governor on Wednesday, June 17. The letter was sent as DeSantis, who has until July 1 to approve the budget, has indicated he will make deep cuts.

“The governor must protect crucial programs and services, or else we will see existing racial and economic disparities exacerbated in Florida,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI, who spearheaded the joint letter. “This can be achieved in a number of ways that would help sustain our state budget and also make Florida stronger in the long-run.”

Specifically, the letter urges the governor to take the following steps:

  • Lobby the Trump Administration and Florida’s congressional delegation for more federal aid to states and localities to address revenue losses;
  • Advocate for a Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) increase and extension;
  • Advocate for retroactive flexibility in federal CARES Act aid, which the U.S. Treasury has stipulated cannot be used to mitigate state budget shortfall; and
  • Work with the Legislature to identify common-sense measures to raise state revenue. This includes enforcing the sales tax on online sales, eliminating tax exemptions for luxury items, holding corporations accountable for their tax liability, and eliminating subsidies for revenue-losing programs. These measures can raise the revenue needed to maintain the state’s priorities now and into the future.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and other state leaders to implement these solutions and preserve hard-won budget priorities,” added Knight.
FPI is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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