May 19, 2021

No More Tax Cuts: Coalition Urges DeSantis, State Leaders to Invest Gaming Compact Revenue in Public Services

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.

Groups make the case for investing in Florida families on the heels of gaming compact approval

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A small group of organizations spearheaded by the non-profit Florida Policy Institute (FPI) today urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to earmark revenue expected from the new gaming compact for investment in public education, Florida’s safety net, affordable housing, and other areas of the budget that will bolster the state’s long-term economic health — not additional tax cuts.

“We’re concerned that dollars generated from the new gaming compact could be spent on yet another business tax cut,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI. “That’s what happened with SB 50, the online sales tax bill — the legislation was amended to redirect revenue that should have gone back to communities into the coffers of corporations. We hope state leaders commit to using any future gaming compact revenue for improving the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.”

The letter — which refers to public services as “the building blocks for strong communities”— includes several ways in which the new revenue could be invested to bolster Florida’s long-term recovery. This includes:

  • Providing an alternate funding source for Florida’s clerks of court that does not exact inequitable fees on low-income Floridians (estimated $400 million);
  • Replenishing state and local housing trust funds with the addition of nonrecurring funds to address Florida's affordable housing crisis ($225 million);
  • Fully funding Florida’s universal Pre-K system to provide six hours of education instead of the current three hours (estimated $400 million);
  • Increasing by 50 percent the number of families receiving child care assistance through the School Readiness program (estimated $500 million);
  • Permanently supporting an increase to Florida’s teacher pay ($500 million);
  • Implementing a state Earned Income Tax Credit or Working Families Tax Rebate ($500 million);
  • Increasing TANF cash assistance, and instituting meaningful supports for safety net participants ($100 million); and
  • Reducing waitlists for home- and community-based services with priority given to high-needs individuals ($438 million).

The 30-year compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe will generate at least $2.5 billion over the next five fiscal years, according to the Florida Revenue Estimating Conference.

“The dollars generated from this compact present an important opportunity for lawmakers to boost those areas of the budget that will help Floridians recover from the pandemic,” added Knight.

In addition to FPI, the letter’s signees include: Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Alliance for Public Schools, Broward for Progress, Catalyst Miami, Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Florida Voices for Health, League of Women Voters of Florida, Lupus and Allied Diseases Association Inc., National Association of Social Workers - Florida Chapter, Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center, SEIU FPSU, State Voices Florida, The Common Ground Project, and UnidosUS.

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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