December 9, 2021

Statement from Florida Policy Institute on Governor's Proposed Budget

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.

While Governor DeSantis voiced support for continuing the state’s sales tax holidays, research shows that these provide little to no relief for people struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, the temporary $1.1 billion cut to the gas tax, which is not an actual fix to the tax code, will be ineffective in boosting household income for Floridians paid low and moderate wages in the long term.

Alternatively, implementing a Working Floridians Tax Rebate, or WFTR, a state version of the federal Earned Income Tax Code, would benefit one in five people in the state and help fix the unfair tax system, which currently places a disproportionate burden on Black and Latina/o Floridians and those with low income. The rebate would also inject $862 million each year into the state economy.

Our long-term economic recovery in Florida will be hindered without comprehensive tax code reform. When the federal funds for COVID recovery eventually dry up, it’s important that the state has measures in place — like closing corporate tax loopholes and allowing the Corporate Income Tax reductions and refunds to expire in 2022, as they're supposed to — that ensure the wealthiest Floridians and corporations pay what they owe in taxes, while implementing reforms that provide real relief to low- and middle-income residents.

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