Economic Commentary – The Economic Impact of a Rebounded and Revitalized Space Program on Florida's Space Coast

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development

Last month’s historic achievement does more than simply showcase human ingenuity and exploration; for residents on Florida’s Space Coast, the SpaceX mission signifies an economic rebound ten years in the making. For a local economy once devastated by the Space Shuttle Program’s end and the Great Recession, achievements in the private space industry have promoted a revitalized economy that continues to display an upward trajectory.

BRIDG: Growing Florida's Advanced Manufacturing Sector

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development

BRIDG was established as a not-for-profit, public-private partnership with support from state and local governments and leading manufacturing industry companies. For the 2019-20 fiscal year, state funding for BRIDG was withheld. BRIDG has the potential to generate thousands of high-skill, high-wage jobs, with billions of dollars in total earnings and hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local tax revenues. BRIDG has the potential to establish Central Florida as a major hub, if not THE major hub, for information technology research, innovation, and manufacturing in the world. Florida TaxWatch presents this report in hope that the Governor and Legislature will continue its investment in BRIDG for fiscal year 2020-21 and beyond. 

Keeping Workers' Compensation Premiums Low Through Independent Medical Review

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care, Insurance, Cost Savings

In this research report, TaxWatch looks at the success of the IMR program in California in an attempt to answer the question “what if IMR was in use in Florida?” TaxWatch is pleased to present policymakers and stakeholders with an independent analysis of a program we think may be helpful in keeping the costs of workers’ compensation insurance down while helping to ensure that injured workers receive appropriate treatment.

Is the Sun Setting on Film in Florida?

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development

While the TaxWatch maintains that incentives should not be used as a substitute for the fundamentals of good economic growth, TaxWatch does recommend that incentives for the film and television industry not be ignored as a part of the Florida’s overall economic development strategy.

TaxWatch Analysis of Amendment 2

In November 2018, Florida voters have a chance avoid a major property tax increase on owners of commercial or rental property, vacation or second homes, unimproved real estate, or any other non- homestead property. This tax increase will happen if the current 10 percent cap on non-homestead property assessments—scheduled to be repealed—is not reauthorized by the voters.

Derailing Brightline – The Cost of Taxpayer-Funded Lawsuits

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Transportation, Tourism, Local Government

When completed, the new Brightline train will pass through the Treasure Coast region of the state without any planned stops. This has prompted local governments in the Treasure Coast region to pursue legislative and legal remedies in an attempt to derail Brightline. This report looks at these actions, and whether they are in the taxpayers best interest.

The Show May Not Go On: An analysis of the cost of severe cuts to Florida's tourism marketing

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Tourism, Taxpayer Guide
Florida tourism is an absolutely critical industry to the state, employing millions of people and contributing millions of dollars to state coffers. Despite its importance to the Sunshine State, tourism is in the crosshairs of the Florida House, a costly decision according to this report.

Bees, Please Don't Buzz Off

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
Honey bees enable the production of more than 90 commercially grown crops here in the United States. Around the world, more than one-third of food production relies on pollination, which is important to understand because, over the past 60 years, the number of honey bee colonies in the United States has decreased steadily.

Pay for Performance Contracting

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
State contracts typically referred to as either performance-based contracting or pay for performance (PFP) are specially formulated so that contracted entities are paid for the outcomes or results of their work, and not just the services that are provided.

The Impact of a $15/hr Minimum Wage

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
In states across the nation, minimum wage policies continue to dominate political and economic discussions. Recently, two of the nation’s largest states, New York and California, have both passed laws that will gradually raise the minimum wage in those states to $15/hr. This report examines the potential impact of an abrupt raise of Florida's minimum wage to $15/hr.

Welcoming the World

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Tourism
Tourism is vital to the economy of Florida, and with the recovery of the world economy, international travel across the world is reaching record highs. This, coupled with data showing the major positive impact international tourists have on economies, provides evidence that Florida should expand its efforts when it comes to attracting foreign visitors to the state.

A Catalyst for Growth

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
This analysis finds that Florida’s competitive tax climate and welcoming weather entice businesses to our state, but Florida must provide targeted incentive packages that will help create high-paying jobs in the Sunshine State as we compete with other states for domestic and global business.

Building Florida's High-Tech Manufacturing Sector

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
As the global manufacturing industry shifts away from classically portrayed steel and car plants to a modernized approach of high-tech manufacturing; companies, countries, and states find themselves looking for a way to best position themselves to benefit from the future of manufacturing. Florida finds itself in a unique position to capitalize on an existing project that could help the state become a world leader in high-tech manufacturing for years to come.

2016 Economic Preview

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
As we kick off 2016, Floridians can look forward to consistent growth in the Florida economy. As shown in the December 2015 Economic Commentary, Florida experienced strong job growth in 2015, adding nearly a quarter of a million jobs. Heading into 2016, Florida’s job market is widely expected to maintain its course as the Florida economy as a whole continues to strengthen. One of the most commonly used metrics to measure a state’s economy is the Real Gross State Product (RGSP), which measures the value of economic output for a given state, adjusted for price changes stemming from inflation or deflation. Florida’s RGSP is expected to grow 3.1 percent in 2016, which is roughly a half a percentage point higher than the United States.

Extending the Manufacturing Machinery & Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Economic Development
Given the diverse economic benefits provided by manufacturing, it is in the state’s best interest to continue to foster growth in this sector, and Florida lags behind compared to other Southern states. But while most Southern states provide broad tax exemptions for manufacturing equipment, Florida’s most important exemption to encourage capital investment in manufacturing will sunset in April 2017. The analysis in this report demonstrates that extending the exemption could provide a significant economic benefit to the state, and its manufacturing industry.

Reducing the Business Rent Tax

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Economic Development, Cost Savings
A reduction in the BRT would be broad-based, benefiting a large number of businesses. All businesses that rent commercial real estate pay the sales tax on those rents, regardless of their profitability or financial shape. Reducing the sales tax would help be a significant help to struggling companies. It would also help new businesses, who may find that other startup costs rule out purchasing real estate as an option.

Economy Heating Up in South Florida

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Tourism, Local Government
Over the past few years Florida’s economy has been on the rise, finally shaking off the economic pain from the great recession. This positive growth has helped stimulate development in South Florida in particular. In a recent survey, more than 80% of small businesses in South Florida reported that they expect to meet or exceed their 2015 revenue targets. And the economic growth is not limited to small businesses; the South Florida Region has also seen a growth in sectors such as construction, financial services, innovation, and more.
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