August 14, 2020

State and Federal Revenue-Raising Solutions Are Key to Reducing Deficit

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.

The following is a statement from Sadaf Knight, CEO of Florida Policy Institute, on new Department of Economic and Demographic Research projections that cut general revenue by $3.4 billion in 2020-21 and $2 billion in 2021-22:

We hope that state leaders, after seeing this updated projection on Florida’s revenue shortfall, agree that raising revenue is no longer just the right policy choice for Florida, but the only policy choice. The alternative, making cuts to vital programs and services in this year’s budget, would cause sustained hardship for millions of Florida families long after the pandemic has ended.

Another round of flexible, federal aid coupled with measures to raise revenue on the state level would go a long way in removing barriers that Floridians are facing amid the economic downturn.

Cleaning up our tax laws, which were in dire need of updating even before the pandemic began, should be lawmakers’ focus in planning our state’s recovery. Right now, due to Florida’s upside-down tax system, the wealthiest families in our state pay the least in state and local taxes while Floridians with the lowest income pay the most, as a share of household income. Modernizing the state tax code would result in billions more in revenue by ensuring that Floridians reaping the greatest benefit from our economy are paying their share.

We strongly urge House and Senate leadership to support a revenue-raising solution to Florida’s deficit. Additionally, state leaders should lobby Florida’s congressional delegation to push for new, flexible federal aid for states.

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