Florida Turns Down Funds for Families
February 14, 2012
Despite a tough economy and shortfalls in state revenue, Florida continues to turn down federal funding that could benefit residents in our state.
Florida ranks 48th in the country in terms of federal grants it has received, according to a 2011 report by Florida TaxWatch. Florida is near the bottom in most grant program areas, including education, housing, Medicaid and Medicare, transportation and family support. TaxWatch calculated that if the state received federal grants equal to its share of taxes paid, we would have received $3.2 billion in additional funding.
Over the last two years, the state has refused to accept any funds associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Over the last year alone, the state has turned away more than $35 million linked to this act, including funding for community health centers. Some of this funding has nothing to do with the national health plan.
A case in point is the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. States that have this program receive federal funding to work with expectant and new families to improve the health and development of their children. There is no state or local match required for these funds. Five sites, including Jacksonville, have hired and trained staff and are now enrolling vulnerable families who agree to participate in the programs. Military families, in both Jacksonville and the state plan, are given priority in receiving this assistance.The goal is to strengthen families and to prevent higher costs for health care, education and even the criminal justice system in the future. The state stands to lose nearly $30 million in support for this program over the next four years.
This is not right for the state or its families. Florida legislators need to worry about fairness and the return to state taxpayers—even if it means being less popular at national meetings.
Rep. Mia Jones, Florida House District 14,