2022 How Florida Counties Compare

/ Categories: Research, Local Government

To complement our How Florida Compares series, which compares our state to the rest of the nation, this report looks at the myriad local governments within the state. While property taxes get most of the public attention, they only provide about one-fifth of city and county revenue. The tables, charts, and graphs in this report provide comprehensive information on local tax rates, tax collections, other revenue sources, and government expenditures.

The Economic and Fiscal Significance of the U.S. Census and American Community Survey

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Local Government

The once-in-a-lifetime pandemic disrupted the 2020 Census— the 24th in U.S. history—delaying field operations and hampering the public’s ability to respond. This report underscores the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on 2020 Census data collection efforts, including disruptions to the ACS, and highlights how this impacts federal funding and critical decision-making among policymakers and business leaders alike.

2022 Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government

On Thursday, April 14, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2022. On that day, Floridians are finally earning money for themselves–not for the tax collector. This symbolic date assumes that every dollar earned since January 1 goes to pay federal, state, and local tax obligations. This measure of tax burden is based on the relative size of all taxes paid in Florida to our state’s total personal income. In 2022, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 103 out of 365 days, nearly three and a half months.

The Impacts of Lawsuits Against Local Governments for Business Damages

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Local Government

The 2022 Florida Legislature is debating two pieces of legislation that add to the process of passing local ordinances and provides additional rights to businesses and residents who wish to challenge those ordinances. This Session Spotlight takes a detailed look at SB620/CS/HB569 & CS/SB280/HB403.

A Decade of Self-Taxing

Florida voters have approved $10.8 billion in local taxes & bond issues since 2010

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide

Florida has long relied on its local governments to fund a major portion of its government services. In fact, that reliance is heavier than in all but one other state. Florida’s counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts provide more than half (52.6 percent) of all state and local revenue collected in the state, trailing only New York (54.7 percent).1 Our state has consistently ranked first or second in this metric for many years.

Post Election Wrap-Up: Local Tax Referenda

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Voter Guides

On November 3, 2020, Floridians went to the polls (or voted by mail) to elect the next President of the United States, voted on numerous state and local races, and decided the fate of six proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. As if that were not enough, voters across the state had to consider more than 200 local referenda, including some significant tax increases This wrap-up looks at how these measures fared. 

An Independent Assessment of the Impact of Broward College

/ Categories: Research, Education, Local Government

On January 30th, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed an Executive Order establishing the goal to make Florida number 1 in the U.S. for workforce education by 2030 and to ensure that Florida students are ready for high-demand, high-wage jobs. Building a workforce in health services, transportation, education, computing, trade, utilities, and jobs that require an industry certification or license will require a sizable investment of public and private funds. In this report, TaxWatch takes a fresh look at Broward College, how it compares to other institutions of higher learning in the Tri-County South Florida region, and its return on investment. 

Diverting Tourist Development Tax Revenue

Florida Shouldn’t “Eat Our Seed Corn” by Diverting Tourist Development Tax Revenue

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government

Tourist Development Taxes (TDTs) play a vital role in Florida counties’ promotion of tourism in their areas. Over the years, the Legislature has added more and more authorized uses of this revenue, diluting the funding available for tourism promotion and advertising. During the 2020 session, efforts to further expanded the authorized uses are continuing. The “slippery slope” warning raised by the tourism industry and Florida TaxWatch in the past has become a reality. 

Truth in Property Taxation Can be Hard to Come By

Public Notice of Important Property Tax Changes should not be Diminished

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government

The TRIM process is a vital taxpayer protection tool and we should continually strive to make it better. Lessening the ability of taxpayers to access this information weakens the law. Taxpayers deserve to get concise, accurate and unvarnished information about how local government decisions affect the property taxes that they pay.

Analyzing the Fiscal Impact of the Energy Deregulation Constitutional Amendment

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Energy/Environment, Local Government, Voter Guides

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.

Vote NO on Amendment 1

Proposed Homestead Exemption Benefits Relatively Few Floridians and Will Likely Increase Taxes on Everyone Else

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide, Voter Guides

Floridians will be voting on as many as 13 state constitutional amendments on November 6, 2018. The first on the list, Amendment 1 (A1), would create a new $25,000 homestead exemption from property taxes.

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.

2018 How Florida Counties Compare

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide

This publication compares the revenue and expenditure profiles of Florida’s 67 counties to give taxpayers an overview of how their local government stacks up with the rest of the state. The report presents the most recently available data regarding: property taxes, other taxes and fees, county and municipal revenues, county and municipal expenditures, and other related measures.

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.

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