Economic Opportunities and Issues in Lee County

Economic Opportunities and Issues in Lee County

Economic Opportunities and Issues in Lee County


The League of Women Voters believes that no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination and that responsible government should. . . share in the solution of economic and social problems

The League supports responsible government that is open, effective, efficient, accountable and provides leadership and coordination to solve economic and social issues and to assure needed services to all citizens. 

The League of Women Voters of Lee County seeks wise investment in initiatives that prevent or reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency for children and families.  Effective prevention and intervention are proven to strengthen families and communities, ensure children are healthy, safe, prepared to learn, and to have viable life choices.   Strategies and Solutions include:

Develop and Implement a Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan for Lee County Human Services, the last was 2005.  The Florida Kids Count 2019 Florida Child Well-being Index shows Florida as 37th of 50 states and Lee County as 42nd of 67 Florida counties. 1 in 4 Lee children live in poverty.  Children are hungry and families are struggling to afford basic needs.

  • Increase Human Services Fundingto meet needs. In the last 20 years, Lee County’s funding for essential human services has not kept pace with the growth in population or need.  For fy 2019-2020 the Lee County General Fund Budget for Human Services is $20,806,486.  A 1.8% increase over 2018-2019 while overall the general fund budget increased by 3.4%.  According to the Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research Lee County spends $30.59 per capita for Human Services compared to the Florida average of $167.08.
  • Establish a Lee County Children Services Council (CSC).CSCs arean effective, proven way to generate resources and to coordinate critical service.  CSCs have a high level of accountability, allow creativity and flexibility and ensure that funds are spent wisely.
  • High quality affordable early education for all Lee County children.  –subsidized when necessary.  Less than a third of Lee County Children are ready for Kindergarten.  About 1000 Lee children are on waiting lists for early learning programs
  • Available and affordable transportation, job training and placement             
  • Affordable housing, including use of Sadowski funds solely for affordable housing
  • Increase Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payment level (now $303/month for a family of 3) 
  • Increase health care access and affordability.  Expansion of Medicaid for low income, uninsured, and under insured.   Funding critical health care services such as KidCare, mental health, substance abuse, family planning, and dental care. 14% of Lee County children are without health insurance.  88% of children who need mental health treatment do not receive it because it is not available in their community.
  • Juvenile Justice including more civil citations, reduced direct file, and children in juvenile, not adult facilities.  Florida is first in the nation for moving youth to adult court with direct file.  FL is 5th in the nation for incarcerating youth with nonviolent probation violations.
  • Reactivate the Community Human Services Council to fulfill its purpose to assure a countywide strategic plan, service coordination, resource planning, partnerships, collaboration and integration of community services.
  • Fully collect impact fees for infrastructure with waivers and/or sliding scales for low income families.

References Include:

 Resources Include: Jul_2014-cum.pdf

Linda Alexionok’s Presentation on Poverty: Why So Many Families Continue to Struggle

Dr. Samantha Goldfarb’s Presentation on Getting Children Off to a Great Beginning

  • Brown Speights J, Goldfarb S, Wells B, Beitsch L, Levine RS, Rust G. State-level progress in reducing the black-white infant mortality gap, United States, 1993±2013. Am J Public Health. 2017; 107(5):775±82)
  • Jean Y. Ko, PhD1; Stephen W. Patrick, MD2; Van T. Tong, MPH1; Roshni Patel, MPH1; Jennifer N. Lind, PharmD3; Wanda D. Barfield, MD
  • Lu, M. C. & Halfon, N. (2003). Racial and Economic Disparities in Birth Outcomes: A Life-Course Perspective. Maternal and Child Health Journal, (7)1, 13-30.
  • Wendell AD. Overview and epidemiology of substance abuse in pregnancy. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2013;56(1):91-96)

Alisa LaPolt’s Presentation on Mental Health Access: How this is Connected to Violence and Bullying in Schools