House Reduction of the Personal Needs Allowance Symptomatic of a Harsh Budget for Vulnerable Floridians

The House proposes a reduction of nursing home patients’ monthly personal needs allowance-funds that significantly improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable Floridians.
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Major Differences Remain as the Legislature Approaches Negotiations on the State Budget

There is $2 billion separating the House and Senate proposed budgets as they begin negotiating the final state budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017-18. More than $1 billion is associated with funding for public schools and state universities. Other major differences are reflected in funding for Lake Okeechobee water storage and health care. Terry Golden April 2017 As the Florida Senate and House enter their annual budget negotiations, there are a variety of differences throughout the budget. The differences are both tangible and philosophical. In part, each budget is drafted specifically for the purpose of negotiation and does not reflect the actual position of its chamber. In other cases, budget issues represent a strongly-held position of a chamber and will...
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Florida House Ways & Means Committee Proposes Almost $1 Billion More for Tax Breaks, Despite Unmet State Needs

Florida lawmakers on the House Ways & Means Committee have proposed almost $1 billion in additional tax cuts, despite gaps in critical services and a cumulative budget shortfall of $3.2 billion by the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20.
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As the Process Moves Toward a Final Budget, Legislators Must Put Floridians First

The Florida House and Senate are poised to pass their respective state budgets this week. There are major differences between the two chambers’ budgets, including a $2 billion discrepancy in their bottom lines.
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Medicaid Hospital Cuts Hurt Beneficiaries, Providers, the Privately Insured and Local Economies

During budget season, the Medicaid program — a key safety net for 4 million Floridians — is a popular target for cuts. This year, hospitals are in the crosshairs. Medicaid cuts hurt all of us. This mantra needs to be front and center as the Florida Legislature considers deep cuts to the program.
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Eliminating the Salary Tax Credit for Insurance Companies is Sound Fiscal Policy

The Florida Senate is considering legislation (SB 378) that would eliminate the salary tax credit associated with the insurance premium tax effective December 31, 2016. For Fiscal Year 2016-17, the tax credit costs the state more than $300 million dollars. The bill also proposes to use the savings accrued from the elimination of the tax credit to offset a reduction of the sales tax rate on commercial rent by 1 percent point.
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There’s No Place Like Home (If You Can Afford It)  

The Florida State Legislature has almost $293 million available in the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund to invest in affordable housing for 2017-18. While the Legislature has been reluctant to fully utilize the available funds in the past, the funding fully supports the articulated goals of state policymaking leadership. The 2017 legislative session is the perfect time for lawmakers to commit to investing all the dedicated affordable housing funds for their intended purpose.
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Why Does the Florida State Legislature Keep Subsidizing the World Golf Hall of Fame?

House Bill (HB) 7005 preserves the state subsidy for the World Golf Hall of Fame while seeking to eliminate a range of tax credit programs provided through Enterprise Florida. The justification for retaining the state subsidy for the World Golf Hall of Fame is unclear at best, and raises the question of what criteria the House used in determining which tax credits to propose for elimination and which to preserve. State return on investment, it appears, is not the benchmark being used by the Florida House of Representatives.
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Transparency is Key to the State’s Medicaid Block Grant Request: Will Floridians be Given the Opportunity for Public Review and Comment?

Florida’s proposals to amend its Medicaid demonstration waiver could have a significant impact on Medicaid beneficiaries, safety net hospitals and local government. These proposals must be considered and deliberated out in the open with an opportunity for public review and comment.  Anne Swerlick March 2017 Last week Florida’s Medicaid agency, the Agency for Health Care Administration, sent a letter to the new U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, requesting changes to its Medicaid demonstration waiver. The current waiver provides the framework for Florida’s statewide Medicaid managed care program. It has been the practice of Florida’s Medicaid agency to vet proposed waiver requests with the public and actively seek recommendations from interested stakeholders prior to submitting these requests to...
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Requiring Drug Testing for Struggling Floridians is an Ineffective and Costly Policy Choice for Florida

Bills filed in the Florida State Legislature would require that the state drug test individuals applying for assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program who have a prior drug-related felony conviction or who are “reasonably suspected” of using illegal drugs, and subsequently deny benefits to those who fail the test. This approach is counterproductive, imposes a needless expense on the families who need these funds the most and results in both short- and long-term costs. Further, Florida’s previous drug testing requirement for applicants resulted in a net loss to the state. Esubalew Dadi March 2017 Two bills filed in the Florida State Legislature, House Bill 1117 and Senate Bill 1392, would mandate drug testing for those TANF...
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