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Florida TaxWatch: $10.8 Billion in Local Taxes and Bond Issues Approved Since 2010

Florida voters passed 142 local tax referenda and $6 billion in new bond issues in the last decade

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida TaxWatch today released its latest report, A Decade of Self-Taxing, providing a comprehensive overview of the $10.8 billion in local taxes and bond issues that voters have approved since 2010. The report further details that Floridians have voted in favor of local tax referenda a total of 142 times – worth $4.8 billion annually – while also passing $6 billion in new bond issues in the last decade.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said, “The findings contained in this report indicate that Florida voters want to be directly involved in local decision making and ensure their hard-earned money is being put to good use in their communities. They have repeatedly demonstrated that they are willing to increase their own taxes if they believe it will fund critical government services and generate an excellent return on investment, but the voters must ensure that local officials are held accountable for these billions of dollars in spending.”

As outlined in the report, since 2010, Floridians have considered 189 tax referenda, and three-quarters (75.1 percent) have passed. Meanwhile, bonds fared slightly better with voters – during the same timeframe, they approved 77.4 percent of the 93 referenda to authorize local governments to issue debt. Additionally, when examined in terms of potential dollars approved, both tax and bond referenda did even better than when measured as a percentage of the number of referenda approved. For taxes, 78.4 percent of the $6.2 billion in total tax increases proposed were approved. Of the $6.7 billion in bond proposals, 89.6 percent passed.

Most of the tax increases fall into two major categories – local option sales taxes and ad valorem (property tax) levies for schools, which require referenda by state law. Local governments also occasionally let voters decide on property taxes for other issues, including conservation and environmental land purchases, children’s services, libraries, cultural and historic projects, and even mosquito control and animal services.

You can read the full A Decade of Self Taxing report here.

About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for more than forty years and the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by its membership via voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit www.floridataxwatch.org.

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