Each year more than 100 million tourists visit Florida, attracted by its theme parks and attractions, comfortable year-round weather, water-related recreational activities, and state and national parks. The importance of healthy Florida beaches and inland waterways to the state’s economy cannot be overstated.
Florida’s economy depends in large part on the availability of reliable and affordable electric power. Like most states, Florida has a regulated energy market that considers electric power to be an essential service for its economic well-being.
A proposed constitutional amendment initiative that would destructure Florida’s energy market may appear on the November 2020 general election ballot that would (if approved) radically change Florida’s energy market. This independent analysis estimates the financial impacts of deregulation on tax revenues and to help Florida taxpayers better understand the effects of the proposed deregulation.
Currently more than eight million South Florida residents, almost one-third of the state’s population, directly rely on the Everglades system for freshwater supply. This report examines the cost of the status quo.
In addition to the serious public health risk for Floridians, the Zika virus is also creating risk for the already tight state budget outlook for next year.
Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for
FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion.
Florida's world-renowned, $10 billion citrus industry is an important sector of the state economy, providing thousands of jobs and capital to agricultural regions. As the nation's largest supplier of citrus, the success of this industry is vital to Florida's diversified economy.
The Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) was established in 1978 to provide competitively priced, reliable power and value-added services for its member municipalities. Concern over higher rates has caused some FMPA member municipalities to “break ranks” in pursuit of lower power rates. This report looks at the FMPA, and the oversight, or lack thereof, that currently exists.
A more than $4 billion dollar difference between the House and Senate budget proposals is detailed in this annual analysis of the initial budgets, which shows that the largest point of contention between the chambers is in funding the health and human services portion of the budget.
The lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region, is an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean that devours native fish and competes for food with native predators, and represents a threat to several important industries in Florida, including sport and commercial fishing, and to the health of coral reefs and the biodiversity in our waters.
In this report, TaxWatch examines a proposal facing the Palm Beach County Commission to allow out-of-county waste haulers to utilize their new renewable energy facility. TaxWatch was asked to examine the proposal by two County Commissioners
Florida's favorable agricultural climate positions the state as the second largest produce exporter in the nation, according to a new report, which finds that the farming and processing of Florida produce contributes more than $7.5 billion to the state economy.
Commuter train projects in Florida have generated some economic activity and job growth in Central and South Florida, though major concerns exist for taxpayers around the state, according to this Economic Commentary. The report highlights Orlandos new SunRail project and South Florida's All Aboard Florida commuter rail line, expected to begin operating in 2016.
This BudgetWatch report compares the FY2014-15 House and Senate budgets in each spending area, and shows the change versus the current fiscal year.
A new honeybee research facility could make Florida a global leader in agricultural research and is estimated to return more than $1 million in state tax revenue to Florida. The proposed facility, to be established at the University of Florida, would attract research revenue as well as help recruit and retain top researchers and students.
Highlights from Governor Rick Scott's proposed budget plan for FY 2014-15 are featured in this Budget Watch Report. The $74.20 billion spending plan is slightly lower than current year spending, even as lawmakers are expected to have their first budget surplus in many years.
This Report, from the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency, highlights more than $1 billion in savings for Florida taxpayers, without reducing state-provided services. The six comprehensive recommendations included in the Report address replacement of the state's accounting system; information technology governance, procurement and state asset management; pension reform; criminal justice reform; state health insurance reforms; and revenue maximization.
Florida is neglecting millions of dollars in federal tax incentives, according to this Briefing. Federal legislation allows for tax deductions to offset the cost of energy efficient new buildings or building renovations, which result in added value to the state. TaxWatch recommends the state identify public buildings that could receive the tax deduction.
According to this Economic Commentary, Florida consumes more than 728 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually, 85 percent of which is used by electric utilities. Further, 59 of Florida's 67 counties have natural gas services available for industrial, commercial and residential use. While Floridians have taken advantage of the benefits of natural gas for electricity purposes, this alternative fuel may provide ample opportunities for both commercial and personal transportation developments.
For the past three years, 10 Florida universities and research institutions have been focused on researching the long-term effects of the BP oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico's marine life, environment, and public health. This month's Economic Commentary focuses on three Florida university-led entities' recent research findings and developments, and how these findings make our state stand out in the scientific arena.
According to this Briefing, progress on the organization of state-owned lands and facilities records has been made, although there is more to be done. The large, yet basic database has been established, but the important tasks of maintaining its relevance and making improvements remain. Phase II of this project offers significant taxpayer value.
Continuing a legacy that has resulted in the savings of at least $3.5 billion in Floridians' hard-earned tax dollars over the last four years alone, Florida TaxWatch added more than $1 billion in cost-saving options for lawmakers this year, with the release of this Report. This year's Report is the fifth in as many years from Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog headquartered in Tallahassee.
With counties in 32 states placed on the USDA's list of primary disaster areas because of drought conditions, this month's Economic Commentary looks at the effects of the drought on food, and potentially fuel, prices. Corn is currently at the highest per-ton cost in history, which will lead to increases in commodities like milk, meat, and eggs for us all.
According to this report, Florida has the potential to collect millions of dollars for energy efficiency enhancement projects already completed, or planned.
Florida's window of opportunity to become a leader in solar and renewable energy manufacturing is rapidly closing. This briefing details the status quo and what needs to be done to make the state competitive with those states that have done more in the clean energy field.