In 2022, Floridians grappled with rising housing costs, deadly hurricanes, and spiking inflation. Below, FPI describes the current policy landscape and its historical context through 10 charts, infographics, and other visuals.
1. Florida’s shared history continues to impact current policy.
Laws and regulations implemented throughout the state’s history have driven disparate outcomes by race and ethnicity and continue to impede Floridians’ ability to thrive.
This is the impetus behind The Florida Timeline, FPI’s latest multimedia initiative.
As FPI CEO Sadaf Knight noted, disparities in access to affordable health care, housing, and “countless other areas,” is “the culmination of nearly 160 years of state laws and regulations built on a foundation of racism in post-Civil-War Florida.”
While the initial focus of The Florida Timeline is historical tax and criminal justice policy, FPI will continue to build out the initiative to include other issue areas. Read more
2. Black history is Florida history.
Black History Month is an important time for Floridians to reflect on Black trailblazers and the profound impact they have had on the state’s political, cultural, and social history.
In February 2022, FPI highlighted several Black Floridians who — throughout the state’s history of unequal opportunity — substantially improved all Floridians’ lives by building a more equitable Florida. Trailblazers include:
- Rep. Gwen Cherry of Miami, an educator, lawyer, law professor and women’s advocate who became the Sunshine State’s first Black woman to serve as a state legislator;
- Clarence Fort, who led the the first lunch counter sit-in in 1960 as president of Tampa’s NAACP Youth Council and spurred the city to integrate the lunch counters later that year;
- Harry and Harriette Moore, teachers and civil rights pioneers in Florida who were engaged in voter registration and anti-lynching activism;
- Mary McLeod Bethune, who shaped the nation’s approach to education for Black Americans and became the first Black American depicted in Statuary Hall; and
- Jonathan Gibbs, Florida's first Black Secretary of State and arguably "father" of Florida's public school system.
3. Immigrants comprise an outsized share of the state’s domestic workforce.
Florida has more than 112,000 domestic workers who care for and provide in-home cleaning services to families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities, according to a recent FPI report.
While immigrants are overrepresented among domestic workers nationwide, in Florida this is especially pronounced, as 60.1 percent are born outside the United States. By contrast, just 26.3 percent of other working Floridians are immigrants.
Despite being indispensable and a vital part of the state’s workforce, domestic workers have for decades faced discrimination and numerous barriers to economic stability. Read more
4. Florida lawmakers must do more to stop wage theft in Florida.
In November 2020, Floridians voters approved Amendment 2, which gradually increases the state minimum wage until it reaches $15 per hour in 2026. However, the minimum wage has been largely unenforced for at least a decade in Florida, according to an analysis by FPI and Rutgers University’s Center for Innovation in Worker Organization.
Wage theft occurs when employers fail to pay, or underpay, wages owed to a working person. Failing to pay someone the minimum wage is one of the most harmful forms of wage theft. Victims of this type of wage theft lose 18 percent of the minimum wage to which they are entitled, on average, or $1.32 per hour.
Florida policymakers should create a state agency equipped with the authority and resources necessary to ensure working Floridians are paid the wages they are entitled to. Read more
5. The amount of public education dollars diverted to private schools has skyrocketed in recent years.
The flow of state school aid to vouchers for private schooling has reached an estimated $1.3 billion in the wake of the Florida Legislature’s enactment of the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) program in 2019, according to a research report by Education Law Center (ELC) and Florida Policy Institute (FPI).
Between 2019-20 and 2022-23, funding redirected to private education from the Florida Education Financing Program (FEFP), the state’s school funding formula, increased by $1 billion. Gadsden County is the school district most highly impacted by voucher costs, losing 9% of their total Florida Education Financing Program (FEFP) budget to vouchers. Miami-Dade will lose $225 million to private education via FES vouchers, representing 8% of the district’s total FEFP budget. Read more
6. Law requiring stratified performance measure data for Medicaid managed care will help foster greater health equity.
The 2022 Florida Legislature unanimously passed HB 855, which was signed into law (Chap. No. 2022-54, Laws of Florida) by Gov. Ron DeSantis on April 6, 2022.
Beginning in calendar year 2026, the new law requires each Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) to stratify and publicly report performance measure data by age, race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability (as determined by the Social Security Administration). The new law also requires MCOs to collect and report on an expanded set of performance measures including the Adult and Child Core sets. These are national key indicators of access to, and quality of, health care received by Medicaid beneficiaries.
While collection of this stratified data alone does not guarantee action on existing health care disparities, it is an essential first step. Read more
7. Federal aid helped boost the state’s budget during the pandemic.
FPI’s annual budget summary noted that federal grants increased from $27 billion in FY 2018-2019 to $35 billion in FY 2019-20, a 30 percent increase; in FY 2020-21, federal grants increased from $35 billion to $53 billion, a 53 percent increase. During these fiscal years, which cover the peak of the pandemic, some key areas received federal funding, including the Agency for Health Care Administration (the bulk of U.S. grants went to the Medical Care Trust Fund), the Department of Economic Opportunity (including critical federal investment in the Unemployment Compensation Benefit Trust Fund), the Department of Education, and the Department of Health. Read more
8. Tax expenditures are costing Florida billions in foregone revenue each year.
Spending through the tax code, unlike spending through the state budget process, goes largely unevaluated by Florida lawmakers. A recent report by FPI found that total tax expenditures cost Floridians $23.6 billion in (FY) 2021-22 and have grown $5 billion over the course of a decade.
Tax expenditures that are not serving a public purpose or are unproductive should be modified or eliminated so that lawmakers can invest those dollars in public schools, affordable health care, environmental conservation efforts, and other areas of the budget that will help communities thrive. Read more
9. Corporations in Florida are not paying their share in taxes.
There are 475 corporations in Florida with more than $50 million in annual revenue — 20 percent of the state’s ultra-wealthy corporations — that paid no state corporate income tax (CIT) in 2020, according to a 2022 FPI analysis of Department of Revenue data.
Further, nearly 20 percent of those corporations making over $250 million paid no CIT. Read more
10. Florida lawmakers’ failure to expand Medicaid has left thousands of people in the health care “coverage gap.”
People in the “coverage gap” are unable to meet Florida's very restrictive Medicaid eligibility requirements, but their income is below the poverty level, so they do not qualify for tax credits to help them buy coverage in the marketplace.
Florida is one of only 11 states that have not expanded Medicaid to all adults with low income. Parents cannot qualify for Medicaid in Florida if their household income is more than 30 percent of the federal poverty level, or $6,984 for a family of three. In fact, only three states in the nation make it harder for working parents to qualify for Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Adults without children, no matter how low their income, cannot qualify for Medicaid in Florida.