LAKE MARY, FL – The Florida Policy Institute today published its Roadmap for Shared Prosperity, which outlines priorities for keeping families and children healthy, boosting workforce productivity and growing the state economy.
“The Institute wanted to outline a few overarching themes that all lawmakers should be able to agree on — things like investment in quality early learning, conserving natural resources and cleaning up the tax code,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of the Institute. “The next phase, of course, is peeling off this top layer and looking deeper at how, legislatively, we can achieve these goals.”
The roadmap recommends:
- Unleashing Floridians’ potential and boosting productivity by investing in education and health. Florida schools are currently being funded below pre-recession levels, and teacher pay in the state ranks among the 10 lowest in the nation. Lawmakers have also opted not to expand Medicaid, which could provide access to affordable prescription drugs and critical health care services for hundreds of thousands of Florida residents.
- Launching public infrastructure projects to create jobs, spur growth, promote equity and improve climate resilience. This includes enacting legislation to stop lawmakers’ raiding of the Florida Forever and Sadowski Housing trust funds, monies intended only for environmental conservation efforts and affordable housing, respectively.
- Boosting household incomes for shared prosperity. High child care and transportation costs, unpredictable work schedules and skills gaps present major barriers to work. Additionally, while voters approved a landmark criminal justice reform by restoring voting rights for people with felony convictions after they’ve completed their sentence and parole terms, state lawmakers still must enact common-sense changes to the fines and fees structure, reform mandatory minimums and address the arbitrarily low felony grand theft threshold.
- Cleaning up and modernizing the tax code for a stronger future. Florida has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation, according to a recent Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report. Households earning less than $18,700 pay 12.7 percent of their income in state and local taxes, compared to 2.3 percent for those earning more than $548,700. Recent passage of Constitutional Amendment 5, which requires a two-thirds vote of the Florida Legislature to raise taxes or eliminate tax loopholes, will present challenges to making the tax code fairer.
“The Institute looks forward to working with the new Florida Legislature and governor to implement these much-needed goals,” added Knight.