Last Call for 4.28.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Lawmakers have been calm about the state budget over the past six weeks, assuaging fears by pointing to healthy reserves and anticipated CARES Act money.

The Florida Policy Institute isn’t as optimistic.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank says the $4.6 billion dollars heading to the state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund won’t cover the budget gap created by the sudden, and likely steep, drop in tax collections during the pandemic.

FPI says lawmakers’ math works out on paper, but the CARES Act has strings attached — it can’t be used to make up for lost state revenue.

The rules, combined with the drop in revenues and rising unemployment, put the Sunshine State in a perilous position. FPI said it will take more federal money to weather the storm.

“As unemployment skyrockets and Florida’s critical tourism industry sustains unprecedented economic damage — from our empty theme parks in Orlando, to the decimated cruise industry in Miami, to closed hotels, restaurants, bars, and establishments statewide — the real fiscal picture for this year is grim,” FPI CEO Sadaf Knight said.

“It is likely most of our sales tax revenue — which makes up almost 80% of Florida’s general revenue-––will have dried up for this year. These facts, combined with a ‘rainy day’ fund regarded as one of the weakest in the nation to weather this coming recession, all leave the Sunshine State in special economic peril.”

Holly Bullard, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at FPI, added, “The truth is that we are likely entering an economic downturn greater than the previous recession, and our state is ill-prepared. If we fail to receive a heavy influx of additional federal dollars, we believe our economy could enter a tailspin for years to come.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 31,986 FL residents (+696 since Monday)

— 880 Non-FL residents (+32 since Monday)


— 1,712 Travel related

— 10,671 Contact with a confirmed case

— 1,535 Both

— 18,068 Under investigation


— 5,222 in FL


— 1,171 in FL

Unemployment numbers

As of Monday:

Total claims: 1,941,807 (+61,464 since Sunday)

— Confirmed unique claims: 824,412

— Claim verification queue: 160,254

— Claims processed: 664,158

— Claims paid: 392,051 (+5,125 since Sunday)

Total paid out: $523.5 million (+$25.7 million since Sunday)

Evening Reads

Donald Trump ‘looking at’ testing for all international travelers” via Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg

Americans support state restrictions on businesses and halt to immigration during virus outbreak, Post-U. Md. poll finds” via Dan Balz and Scott Clement of The Washington Post

’We made a judgment:’ House extends recess, Senate will reconvene Monday” via Savannah Behrmann and Nicholas Wu of USA Today

Ron DeSantis, Trump discuss reopening Florida” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida

DeSantis announcing “Phase 1” reopening plan Wednesday” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Eight weeks later DeSantis returns to a changed Tampa Bay, stunted by COVID-19” via Steve Contorno and Justine Griffin of the Tampa Bay Times

Predicted COVID-19 death toll rises to 1,914, but total still a fraction of worst outlook” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

COVID-19 infectious rate modeling shows Florida may be in good shape” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Unemployment: Application flow picks up with state system back on line” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Florida businesses sue small business administration over delayed loans” via Caroline Glenn of the Orlando Sentinel

Consumer confidence hitting record low in Florida amid coronavirus, UF study shows” via Kelsey Sunderland of WFLA

Coronavirus shutdowns ‘pointless’ and ‘criminal’, House Speaker José Oliva emails” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Broward County will open parks as South Florida restrictions ease” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Pipe-busting waste called ‘fatbergs’ are growing in Tampa during the pandemic” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times

Recreational pot supporters fire back a new law” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida

Quote of the Day

“We’re doing the best we can with the system we have.” — Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter, who is now in charge of the state unemployment system.

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