The Suncoast Connector: What We Still Need to Know

/ Categories: Research, Transportation

Florida recently began one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in modern Florida history: the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program.  

While much remains unknown about the specifics of the Suncoast Parkway (including the exact route of the road) this Florida TaxWatch report examines the potential costs and long-term financial challenges and obligations of constructing the Suncoast Connector portion of the M-CORES program. Essentially, this analysis focuses on the need for, cost of, and revenue potential from the Suncoast Connector toll road as an expansion of Florida’s Turnpike System.  

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.

Meeting Florida's Transportation Investment Needs

/ Categories: Research, Transportation
Florida continues to grow and is now the nation’s third largest state. After a slowdown during the Great Recession, Florida is on the rise again, and the state will add more than four million new residents by 2030. This report examines the expected needs of the transportation system across the state.

Budget Watch - 2016-17 Legislative Budget Requests

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 Is The World's Port Of Call

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Transportation, Tourism
Florida residents are keenly aware that tourism is an important economic engine providing power to the state economy, and several Florida TaxWatch publications provide economic data supporting this observation. Tourism is one of the top providers of jobs for Floridians and a serves as a major source of tax revenue for the state.

The Rise of Commuter Rail in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
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.

Economic Impact Evaluation of a Proposed Honeybee Research and Extension Laboratory in Florida

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.

Budget Watch - Governor's Proposed Budget - FY2014-15

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.

Modern Management & Sensible Savings

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's Revenue Opportunities Under Sec 179D

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Energy/Environment, Transportation, Cost Savings
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.

Economic Commentary: Florida Businesses and Local Governments Invest In CNG

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
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.

Economic Commentary: Florida's Gulf Research Cooperation

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
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.

Bringing FL-SOLARIS to Life

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.

Government Cost Savings Task Force Report for FY2013-14

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.

Economic Commentary-The Effect of the Midwest Drought on Florida

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
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.

Summary of the Florida TaxWatch April 2011 Briefing: Benefits of the Sunshine State's Investment in the Solar Renewable Energy Sector

/ Categories: Research, Energy/Environment, Transportation
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.
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