April 17, 2018

New Federal Tax Law Reduces Revenue While Population Ages, According to Recent Report

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.

Florida’s high percentage of both households with one or more elderly people and seniors living below the poverty line requires full investment in health care programs and services

LAKE MARY, FL – The share of people age 65 and older in the U.S. will grow from 15 to 21 percent over the next two decades, which will drive the need for spending on programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, according to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The CBPP policy brief, New Tax Law Shrinks Revenue When More Revenue Is Needed, also notes a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cost roughly $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years, when accounting for any additional economic growth in that same period.

“The projected shrink in revenue coupled with the increasing share of older Americans is particularly concerning in a state like Florida, which has a high percentage of senior residents,” said Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Florida Policy Institute (FPI). “A drop in federal revenue means less investment in those vital programs and services that seniors rely on.”

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Florida has the largest share of households in the nation (35.9 percent) with one or more people 65 years and older. Additionally, 10.4 percent of Florida seniors are living below the federal poverty level, which is worse than the national average (9.2 percent).

In its policy brief, CBPP states that both public and private sector health care expenditures have “grown faster than the economy and will likely continue to do so, in part due to new procedures, drugs, and treatments that improve health and save lives but also add to costs.”

Florida already falls short in providing long-term care and supports (LTSS), according to a recent AARP scorecard. The state ranks 46th in the nation for LTSS, which includes both nursing home care and home- and community-based services intended to prevent or delay nursing home care.

To make matters worse, Florida could also see revenue losses at the state level, according to FPI. The state is considering a constitutional amendment that would require a supermajority vote of the state Legislature, or a two-thirds vote in each chamber, to increase a state tax or fee, institute a new state tax or fee or eliminate an exemption or credit. A state with a similar supermajority requirement, Oklahoma, saw deep cuts to public services over the past decade.

“Lawmakers on the state and federal level must be looking for long-term solutions to caring for elderly residents, including investing in safety net programs,” added Pennisi. “And to do that requires revenue.”

The Florida Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting widespread prosperity through timely, thoughtful and objective analysis of state policy issues affecting economic opportunity.

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