April 28, 2020

Local Governments: It's Too Soon to Estimate COVID-19-Related Revenue Losses [Bay News 9]

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.

Mitch Perry of Bay News 9 writes:

"Florida is a state disproportionately affected by sales tax revenues to fund its state and local budgets, but local officials say it’s too early to tell how bad the economic fallout from shutting down all but essential businesses is to contend with the coronavirus.


Senate President Bill Galvano has said that federal funding from the $2.2 trillion federal CARES act will bring sufficient revenue to the state to avoid any major fiscal disaster.

'We expect the federal government will offer clarification that these funds can also be used to offset revenue losses in the upcoming 2020-21 Fiscal Year, meaning these federal funds would add to Florida’s already robust reserve to fund appropriations made by the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act,' Galvano wrote to legislators on April 24.

However, the U.S. Treasury said last week that those funds can’t be used to address state revenue shortfalls.

'These restrictions on the CRF (Coronavirus Relief Fund) Fund puts states in a bind, and without additional federal relief states are going to face a fiscal cliff,' said Sadaf Knight with the nonpartisan think tank Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added] on a conference call on Tuesday.

Knight added that the potential negative impact to Florida is significant due to the shutdowns to deal with the coronavirus."


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