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May 27, 2020

Sharp drop in state tax collections threatens pay raises, programs [Palm Beach Post]

This post was last updated on September 10, 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.

John Kennedy (Gatehouse) writes:

"The coronavirus’s financial hit on the Florida economy is coming into sharper focus, with a new report showing state tax collections falling almost $900 million short in April.

And May is likely to be worse, analysts say.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has not yet acted on a $93.2 billion budget proposal approved by the Legislature in March. But the spending plan is expected to need dramatic retooling, even if helped by federal aid, state reserves and the governor’s anticipated vetoing of hundreds of millions of dollars in programs and projects to reduce costs.

...

The Florida Policy Institute, a non-partisan research organization [emphasis added], said that sales tax losses, alone, could soon hit $800 million-a-month, initially caused by the coronavirus shutdown but then followed by rising unemployment, which will slow tourist visits and consumer spending.

Florida’s unemployment rate hit 12.9% in April, less than the national 14.7% level. But jobless numbers across the country are expected at least to near 16% by mid-summer, which will have its own jarring effect on Florida’s tourist-driven economy.

'In other words, as people from other states face job losses and are unable to travel to Florida, tourism-generated economic activity and the state’s revenue suffers,' said Robert C. Osborne, board chair of the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]."

Read more on palmbeachpost.com

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