May 5, 2017

Statement on Florida's 2017-18 Budget Agreement

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 residents deserved more from the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget agreement released by the Florida Legislature this afternoon. Notably, per-pupil funding in K-12 is at a level lower — in real terms — than it was a decade ago, lawmakers failed to expand Medicaid to the more than 500,000 Floridians in the health care coverage gap (who are among the 2.6 million uninsured Floridians) and lawmakers raided the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund, diverting more than $150 million to be used for purposes other than affordable housing.

In terms of the tax cut package, history tells us that the reductions in taxes on profitable business do not drive real economic growth. And the state continues to make small, temporary reductions in the sales tax that will have a negligible impact on the wallets of Florida families and seniors. A recent United Way report points out that 44 percent of all Florida households can’t afford to put food on the table and afford other necessities like child care and transportation, so minor sales tax exemptions won’t even put a dent in most families’ expenses. In this fiscal year alone, the state is forgoing almost $80 million in revenue that could have instead been used toward public services that benefit all our residents.

In the coming days, the Florida Policy Institute will publish pieces analyzing specific areas of the budget, to help inform Sunshine State residents of lawmakers’ decisions that ultimately affect their health and livelihood.

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