By
Sadaf Knight
|
June 2, 2021

Statement on FY 2021-22 Budget

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.

The major role of federal aid in bolstering this year’s budget cannot be understated. Because of these federal dollars, lawmakers were able to make some crucial investments, like an extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year and bonuses to child care workers, teachers, and other state employees.

We are disappointed, however, that the governor had to veto $1.35 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars. State leaders’ choice to earmark this money for Florida’s reserves — a purpose deemed ineligible under the recently-released U.S. Treasury guidance — was short sighted. These funds should have been used for things that directly benefit Floridians, like fixing the broken unemployment insurance system or implementing a state earned income tax credit.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, the funds must be used by December 31, 2024. As such, policymakers must now act to reconsider the best use of the $1.35 billion they had planned to put into reserves.

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