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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

Florida for All strategy to engage public in state budget fight


Welcome to Take Action Tuesday!


I’m really impressed by a lot of things about the People’s Budget Florida campaign:


-       The breadth and strength of the coalition they’ve assembled

-       The strategic nature of tackling the state budget, a tactic now being embraced by progressives in more and more states

-       The strength of the vision they put forth

-       The strength and detail of their polling, tax research and policies they support

-       Messaging that couldn’t be better


Florida has an extremely short state legislative session, only 60 days that is scheduled to end on Friday, March 8. 

It’s hard to tell from the outside how much pressure the coalition has been able to bring to bear.  Even if they don’t gain a lot of traction this year, though, as a long-term strategy there’s a lot of reasons to believe they can be successful.


Florida Politics – A Heavy Lift for Progressives


The state has the third largest population in the country, at nearly 22 million, after CA and TX.

According to Wikipedia, Florida politics “reflect a state that has experienced conflict between its liberal southern region and its traditionally conservative northern region.”

As a woman of a certain age, I remember when Florida was considered a “purple state.”  In recent years, it has become increasingly “red.”  The State House is controlled by a GOP trifecta.  The head of the GOP state party simultaneously works as a lobbyist.  So far, progressives and Democrats have not been able to stop a lot of terrible policies from being enacted.

Although Florida’s gerrymandered maps will be considered by the Supreme Court at some point, it seems too late for new maps for the 2024 elections.

It is harder to engage people in state-level politics than in local politics at the neighborhood or city level, or in national politics, which get most of the media attention. The hollowing out of news media over the past 20 years has led, in particular, to closing bureaus in state capitals. There are some newer digital outlets that have sprung up, but it remains a challenge.


The Coalition

With support from SiX, the Florida For All coalition (founded in 2014) includes Florida Rising (voting rights), Florida Immigrant Coalition, Faith in Florida, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Dream Defenders (youth), and SEIU Florida/FL Public Services Union/1199.  The partners have a racially diverse base, with strong support among Black and brown people.


The Strategy

These folks have been engaging in the budget struggle for some time.  In March 2021, they surveyed more than 11,300 Floridians about their budget priorities. 


This week, they released their annual mid-session report, titled “The Cost of Corporate Giveaways.” The report details a long list of corporate giveaways up for consideration during the legislative session. The corporate tax giveaways alone would cost Floridians approximately $10.1 billion in public dollars over the next five years. 


According to the report, among the corporations and industries benefiting from the giveaways include monopoly utility companies, theme parks, big sugar, and factory farms, along with billionaire campaign donors.


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