". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13

Commentary

DeSantis and Rubio Pave the Way for Pro-Family Tax Policy

September 22, 2022

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) announced a proposed tax relief package that would provide $1.1 billion in tax relief to Florida families, including provisions to make necessary baby items like diapers, cribs, and strollers permanently tax exempt. Due to a record budget surplus, DeSantis is seeking to “allow families to purchase items for their children at a lower cost and help families keep more money in their pockets.”

This move comes after several states, including Iowa and Maryland, recently passed measures to exempt diapers specifically from state sales tax as part of a growing movement led by Baby2Baby. DeSantis’s proposal would take this pro-family policy to the next level.

Carving out exemptions from the sales tax in a state like Florida, which already has no state income tax, is no small feat. DeSantis has likewise demonstrated his commitment to strengthening the family by allocating millions of dollars to those served by the child welfare system, as well as fatherhood initiatives that encourage men to “take an active role in the lives of their children.”

The Florida governor is not alone is his desire to effect policy changes that create a culture of life by strengthening families. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has also introduced a federal Providing for Life Act, which, among other provisions, expands the child tax credit, expands tax relief for adoptive parents, and helps secure child support payments from biological fathers during pregnancy.

A press release from Rubio states, “America’s pro-abortion legal regime may be over, but our work is far from finished. Being truly pro-life requires an understanding of the pain and struggle, arising from serious difficulties and responsibilities motherhood entails, which lead a woman to abort her baby.” This proposal from Rubio stands in stark contrast to his opponent, Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), whose only solution to helping mothers post-Roe is to advocate for more abortion.

Given that 40% of mothers who choose abortions do so because of financial stress, legislative efforts such as tax relief are a significant mechanism that policymakers can use to alleviate the reasons why women seek abortions in the first place. While laws that protect life in the womb are key to stopping the supply of abortions, more can be done to diminish the demand as well.

The abortion industry and its supporters often claim that the pro-life movement is only “pro-birth,” because pro-lifers supposedly only care about stopping abortion rather than supporting mothers and babies. This has never been true; the thousands of pro-life pregnancy resource centers around the nation that provide hundreds of millions of dollars in material resources, counseling, ultrasounds, and other services to mothers free of charge are a testament to the pro-life desire to see mothers and babies flourish.

And this life supporting element to the pro-life movement has only increased since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Just this week, several prominent conservative scholars came together to champion a set of policy principles to establish a truly pro-family policy agenda. These principles are centered on strengthening marriage and families in public policy, starting in the womb, and carrying through the entirety of family life. 

However, even in light of the important work that has already been done, the pro-life movement can always do more to ensure that mothers and babies have the resources that they need to not only survive, but also flourish. Legislative moves like DeSantis’s proposed tax relief package demonstrate the innovation that it takes to create a culture of life in all spheres of American society.

Of course, the $633 million that Planned Parenthood received in taxpayer funding from 2020 to 2021 could have also gone a long way toward helping families if it had been directed to supporting mothers rather than killing their children. It is important to remember that the abortion industry is an obstacle that must be removed before mothers and babies can truly receive the complete support that they deserve.

Having a family is a human right that should not be reserved only for the wealthy. The abortion industry would have American society believe that killing children is the best solution to economic struggles, especially as pro-abortion President Biden increasingly drives our nation into economic crisis. Thankfully, pro-life champions like Governor DeSantis and Senator Rubio are paving the way to correcting this toxic view of life and restoring financial security to American families.

Joy Stockbauer is a policy analyst for the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.

Connor Semelsberger is Director of Federal Affairs - Life and Human Dignity at Family Research Council.