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EXPLAINER: What Biden's American Families Plan means for Florida

American Families Plan - Florida
Posted at 11:22 AM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 14:42:40-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The White House released fact sheets on Thursday that highlight the need for and impact of the investments proposed by President Biden in the American Families Plan in states and territories across the country.

The Florida fact sheet includes information regarding free community college and universal pre-K, the high costs of child care, the number of workers who lack access to paid family leave, and the thousands of dollars families and workers would save in tax cuts and credits.

  • The American Families Plan will provide at least two years of free community college to all students, including DREAMers. The average cost of a 2-year degree in Florida is $3,238 per year.

It will also increase the maximum Pell Grant awards by approximately $1,400 to support the 474,450 students in Florida who rely on Pell for their education, and provide grants to increase college retention and completion.

In addition, the American Families Plan will provide support to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and the students they serve across the country, like Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs).

On average, 57 percent of students in Florida are able to complete a postsecondary degree of any kind within 6 years of enrolling, and across the United States, high-minority and high-poverty high schools have seen 9.4 percent and 11.4 percent declines in college enrollment, respectively.

  • The American Families Plan will provide access to free, high-quality pre-school to all 3- and 4-year-olds in Florida,

Currently, only 222,275 or 47 percent of the 465,130 3- and 4-year-olds in Florida are enrolled in publicly-funded pre-school.

The American Families Plan will also ensure that all employees in funded pre-school programs are paid a $15 minimum wage and provide compensation and benefits comparable to kindergarten educators to those with similar qualifications.

  • The American Families Plan will invest $9 billion in Florida teachers, addressing teacher shortages, improving teacher preparation, recruiting and developing more teachers of color, and leveraging veteran teachers to help support and train new teachers.

Florida has seen a 13 percent decline in new teacher supply.

In high-need areas like special education and bilingual education, the lack of qualified teachers is worsening educational disparities for students with disabilities and English learners.

In Florida, just 33 percent of teachers are teachers of color, while students of color make up 62 percent of the student population.

  • The American Families Plan will create a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program to ensure workers receive partial wage replacement from the government to take time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one's military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, and heal from their own serious illness.

In Florida, and across the nation, more than 110 million workers lack access to paid family leave and nearly 84 million lack access to paid medical leave.

For the country’s lowest-wage workers, many of whom are women and workers of color, 95 percent are without paid family leave and 91 percent without paid medical leave.

Paid leave has been shown to reduce racial wealth gaps, improve child health, increase employee retention, and boost women’s workforce participation. These supports are especially critical now, with COVID-19 resulting in lost wages and a decline in economic activity.

  • The American Families Plan will ensure that the nutritional needs of Florida’s children are met by expanding access to free school meals to an additional 1,139,000 students and providing 2,069,000 students with resources to purchase food over the summer.

Sixteen percent of children in Florida live in food-insecure households and 30 percent are obese.

  • The American Rescue Plan provided two years of lower health insurance premiums for those who buy coverage on their own; the American Families Plan will make those premium reductions permanent.

In Florida, 78,000 uninsured people will gain coverage and 589,100 will on average save hundreds of dollars per year on their premiums.

The average American family will save $50 per person per month on health coverage. In addition, the American Families Plan will support maternal health and the families of veterans receiving health care services, key parts of a historic investment in health care affordability for all Americans.

  • The American Families Plan will bolster financial security and spur economic growth in Florida by reducing taxes on the middle class and those striving to break into it.

There are 741,000 children or 17 percent of children under the age of 18 in Florida who are considered poor.

  • The American Families Plan will extend through 2025 the American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credit (CTC) increases to $3,000 per child 6- years old and above and $3,600 per child under 6.
  • It will also make the credit fully refundable so that low-income families can now receive the same credit as middle-income families. This extension will benefit 3,833,000 children in Florida, including 2,297,000 children of color.
  • This proposal is estimated to lift 275,000 children out of poverty in Florida and reduce child poverty in the state by 38 percent.
  • To support families with child care needs, the American Families Plan will provide a permanent increase to the temporary Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit expansion enacted in the American Rescue Plan.
    • Families will get back as a tax credit as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13, so they can receive a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children.
    • The full 50 percent reimbursement will be available to families making less than $125,000 a year and all families making between $125,000 and $400,000 will receive a partial credit.
  • The American Families Plan will also make the Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion (EITC) for childless workers permanent to support low-wage workers. This will benefit 1,323,000 workers in Florida, many of whom are essential workers, and 693,800 of whom are people of color.

For more information about the American Families Plan click here.