March 15, 2018

Statement on Senate Passage of Measure That Would Thwart Investment in Florida Families, Put State at Risk During Economic Crises

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 Florida Senate today passed a joint resolution that will put on the November ballot a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote by each house of the Legislature to approve any new state tax or fee, increase an existing state tax or fee or eliminate any state tax expenditure. This ill-advised measure is a sure prescription for a poor future for Florida’s families and economy.”

Florida already provides less support for public services than any other state, as measured by total state expenditures per capita, and lawmakers consistently shortchange public education, health care, affordable housing and other investments that drive economic growth.

If this threshold is approved in November, lawmakers’ hands would be tied during an economic crisis, when revenue is desperately needed. Imagine what would happen after the next hurricane or during the next economic recession, when the demand for services increases and the revenue to address them lags. In 1992, Oklahoma voters approved a supermajority threshold for tax increases, and since that time, state lawmakers have not once cleared the required vote hurdle, even in severe budgetary emergencies.

Further, although the proposal would not subject local taxes and fees to the supermajority-vote requirement, local governments could also be harmed if state lawmakers are unable to raise revenue. Roughly 60 percent of all revenues in Florida that fund school districts for PreK-12 education come from state coffers.

The measure would put our state and families at risk.

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