Sign-On Letter: Florida should balance the budget by looking to revenue-raising solutions, not cuts to critical services
Dear Valued Community Partner:

Florida Policy Institute will send the below letter to Gov. DeSantis, House Speaker Sprowls, Senate President Simpson, and CC legislative leaders of appropriate committees. COVID-19 has left policymakers with the daunting responsibility of balancing Florida’s budget amid an economic recession. This responsibility calls for steadfast action and courage to invest more in public services.

Yet, it seems that several policymakers will return to Tallahassee with plans to make counterproductive budget and tax cuts. As we all prepare to face a revenue shortfall of $5.6 billion over the next several years, these cuts will sacrifice Florida’s safety, health, economic security, and public education, all for a short-term solution.

Now is the time to push for revenue-raising solutions to preserve and expand the public services that keep our economy and Floridians afloat. This letter will be sent along with FPI's 21 revenue-raising proposals, which can be found here:

https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5cd5801dfdf7e5927800fb7f/5fac14ff36c0b3c2c8080cee_Revenue%20Agenda%202021.3_compressed.pdf

Deadline for sign on: Tuesday, January 12th, 5pm.

Thank you for joining us in this effort, we will follow up with updates and to coordinate next steps. - FPI



_______________________________________________________________________________________________________


January XX, 2021

The Honorable Ron DeSantis
Governor of Florida
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Re:

To Governor DeSantis:

As you know, COVID-19 has hit Florida with a public health crisis that has exposed and worsened social inequality. Floridians cannot buy enough food to feed their families, nor keep a roof over their heads, their businesses afloat, their jobs, and good health. Furthermore, growing evidence suggests that these conditions are disproportionately worse for the elderly, individuals with disabilities, people of color, those who are incarcerated, and women. Without a doubt, the pandemic has left you and fellow policymakers with the daunting task of balancing our state’s budget amid an economic recession. As leaders of our state, you now have the responsibility of making difficult choices to uphold the prosperity and dignity of those suffering the most.

This responsibility demands steadfast action and courage to invest more in public services. However, we – the undersigned – are concerned that the state is contemplating counterproductive budget cuts. As we prepare to face a revenue shortfall of $5.6 billion over the next several years, you must take bold action to strengthen public support and invest in Florida’s future. Every dollar spent in uplifting people, communities, small businesses, and local governments is a dollar that will enhance the economy and pay dividends for years to come.

In contrast, budget cuts will sacrifice Floridians’ safety, health, economic security, and public education, all for a short-term solution. Instead of cuts, we urge that you look to raise revenue to invest in Florida’s long-term prosperity. We understand that you must balance the state budget. Still, as we reflect on lessons from the Great Recession, it is evident that cuts to public services will only slow-down economic development. It bears reiterating that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

We ask that you implement revenue-raising solutions to preserve and expand the public services that keep our economy and Floridians afloat right now. Raising revenue to invest in our state’s public services is like giving gas to our economy’s engine. Through fearless pro-investment action, you would also usher in a more equitable, modern, and resilient revenue base for the future. Attached, you will find a list of 21 steps to increase revenue and make a down payment on programs and services that make Florida a great place to live, work, and visit.

For example, you could generate approximately $1 billion in new revenue each year by returning to a corporate income tax rate of 5.5 percent and closing corporate tax loopholes. Additionally, you could raise about $700 million by requiring remote sellers and online marketplaces to collect sales taxes. These options could help you and fellow policymakers make investments to strengthen our state’s criminal justice system, environment, housing, infrastructure, public health, safety net programs, and schools.

Lastly, we urge you to uphold your commitment, as elected officials, to serve Floridians by using all new revenue to support public services. We are concerned by the prospect of implementing revenue-raising options to justify tax cuts for large corporations. Cutting taxes on profitable businesses and the wealthy would be like putting the brakes on our state’s economy, stopping the flow of money into our local communities, and making the recession worse. We believe that it is everyone’s civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes, including large corporations.

We look forward to working alongside you and fellow policymakers to advocate, on behalf of all Floridians, for revenue-raising solutions that promote shared prosperity and dignity. We believe that together we can protect our families, friends, and neighbors' health and economic stability by prioritizing revenue over cuts.

CC:

House Speaker Chris Sprowls
Senate President Simpson



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