A Rising Tide Sinks All Homes - The Effects of Climate Change on Florida's Economy

With more than 8,400 miles of coastline and a flat, low-lying coastal topography, Florida is especially vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. Tens of thousands of Florida homes and businesses are at increased risk from sea level rise. Much of Florida’s critical infrastructure is at low elevations, designed and built with little consideration of future sea level rise. The physical effect of changing climate translates into real economic impacts.

Beyond the Pandemic: Long-Term Changes and Challenges for Housing in Florida

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery

As unexpected and unpredictable as COVID-19 has been, few could have predicted the housing boom that the pandemic ignited across the nation. The U.S. housing market—notoriously known for its role in the 2007-2009 Great Recession—defied expectations and experienced record price growth over the past year as demographic trends, government policies, and basic supply and demand all coalesced. In the short term, soaring home prices have been well-documented both analytically and anecdotally.

Navigating Federal Pandemic Relief: Following billions in stimulus dollars, where do we go from here?

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Budget/Approps

The massive amount of federal funding provided in the six stimulus acts provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve Florida and fund programs and infrastructure that have had long-standing backlogs with few past feasible opportunities to address to this degree.

Who Knows What—Analysis of Data Privacy Legislation in Florida

/ Categories: Research

Florida TaxWatch undertakes this updated, independent assessment to better understand the economic impacts that consumer data privacy legislation would have in Florida. The report details the individual cost components that would comprise compliance activities. Building upon the previous research brief, this report calculates the potential economic cost of litigation that a private right of action would produce. The recommendations contained at the end of the report provide policymakers with some key considerations to minimize adverse outcomes while attaining the core goal of data privacy.

Beyond the Pandemic: Long-Term Changes and Challenges for Leisure & Hospitality

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery

Just as the nation was entering a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic—one where vaccination rates were rising and pent-up demand for travel started to unleash during the summer—the contagious delta variant exposed tourism’s lingering economic vulnerability. 

2022 Legislature Should Reauthorize the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund Program

Florida’s Flagship Economic Development Program has a Proven Track Record

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Economic Development

There has been an ideological debate regarding economic development incentives brewing in the Legislature for several years. The Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund Program is a performance-based program that refunds some of the taxes a business has already paid, but only after it is verified that the contracted requirements have been met, including the promised increase in high-wage jobs.

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools: SMART Program Quarterly Report Review for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2021

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC

On September 17, 2021, Florida TaxWatch received the Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2021 (“Quarterly Report”). This report provides updated information on the implementation of the District’s SMART Program and the use of general obligation bond funds to purchase and install technology upgrades, purchase music and arts equipment, improve school safety, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.

Budget Watch - What a Difference a Year Makes

2022 Legislature Heads into Session with a $7 Billion Budget Surplus

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

Last year, COVID-19’s arrival in Florida and the attendant economic shutdown had state forecasters—and virtually everyone else--predicting gloomy fiscal times for Florida. The 2020 legislative Long-Range Financial Outlook estimated that the 2021 Legislature would be facing a budget shortfall of $2.7 billion, and without significant spending cuts, the shortfalls would continue for at least two more years.

Debate in Public Schools

A Florida TaxWatch Commentary by Bob Nave (Vice President of Research)

/ Categories: Research, Education, Blog

 How can scholastic debate and the business community work together to drive Florida's students forward? One option is to look at existing programs, like the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Debate Initiative, which now boasts approximately 15,000 students in every high school and learning center, every middle school, and in more than 100 elementary schools. The Initiative is a partnership between BCPS and local businesses, whose sponsorships and donations are critical in supporting debate opportunities for BCPS students.

Red Tide Mitigation Using Southern Hard Clams

/ Categories: Research, Energy/Environment

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.

Beyond the Pandemic—Long-Term Changes and Challenges for Postsecondary Training

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Economic Development, Education

Shifting demographics as the Baby Boomer generation exits the labor force will also fuel broader changes for the working population. For these reasons, the needs of the future workforce place a premium on human skills development—equipping individuals with the requisite skills to be prepared for a workforce full of disruption and displacement. Increasingly, postsecondary institutions and industry will both be crucial to training workers for an ever-evolving economy.

Beyond the Pandemic: Long-Term Changes and Challenges for Florida’s Workforce

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Economic Development

The third article in our Beyond the Pandemic series... In many ways, Florida's workforce looks starkly different from when it first entered the pandemic over a year ago. Challenges with controlling the spread of COVID-19 precipitated the widespread use of remote work and other digital formats across the state. These changes accelerated workforce trends that were present before COVID-19 (such as automation) and now foreshadow a future workforce that will constantly face disruption and displacement.

2020 Annual Report

From the 40th Anniversary celebration to the pandemic, Florida TaxWatch was on the job for Florida's taxpayers

/ Categories: Research, Annual Reports

LIKE THE GREAT DEPRESSION, THE MOON LANDING, OR SEPTEMBER 11, NO ONE WILL EVER FORGET WHAT 2020 WAS LIKE. There was not a single American (or virtually any citizen of the world) unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stories of the past year will be told for generations. This is the story of how Florida TaxWatch worked through this crazy year.

Beyond the Pandemic: Long-Term Changes and Challenges for K-12 Education in Florida

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Economic Development, Education

FOR STUDENTS, LEARNING IS A CUMULATIVE PROCESS WHEREBY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS ARE DEVELOPED OVER SUCCESSIVE YEARS. As such, any sudden and large disruption to in-person instruction can have a cascading effect on student learning and life outcomes beyond formal education. Due to COVID-19, the unprecedented disruption in learning, especially for K-12 students, raises concerns about what unfinished learning may mean for academic achievement, mental health, and social development in the future. So what happens now?

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools: SMART Program Quarterly Report Review for the Quarter Ended March 31, 2021

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC, BOC

On May 28, 2021, Florida TaxWatch received the Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter Ended March 31, 2021 (“Quarterly Report”). This report provides updated information on the implementation of the District’s SMART Program and the use of general obligation bond funds to purchase and install technology upgrades, purchase music, and arts equipment, improve school safety, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.

Addressing the Medicaid Funding Gap Through a Directed Payment Program

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Insurance

Medicaid is a joint federal-state health insurance program that provides medical coverage to more than four million low-income Floridians. Administered by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, Medicaid is jointly funded through a federal cost-sharing agreement. During fiscal year 2020-21, Florida’s appropriated budget for Medicaid is $29.7 billion.

2021 Budget Turkey Watch Report

An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

The 2021 Budget turkey Watch report: an analysis of the transparency and accountability of the Budget processis the result of an annual independent review of Florida’s FY2021-22 budget by Florida TaxWatch. Budget Turkeys are items, usually local member projects, placed in individual line-items or accompanying proviso language that are added to the final appropriations bill without being fully scrutinized and subjected to the budget process.

State COVID-19 Restrictions & the Road Back to Economic Normal

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Economic Development

In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed the world, with much of the country implementing various measures to minimize the negative health and economic impacts of widespread infection. State responses to the pandemic have been diverse and complex, with some instituting strict restrictions on businesses and others rolling back restrictions at a faster pace. At the same time, vaccine rollouts are accelerating, and state economic recoveries seem to be on varied paths with some approaching pre-pandemic levels of employment faster than others. The present analysis offers a cursory look at the relationship between state COVID-19 restrictions and their respective economic recoveries by running a preliminary correlation test between the two measures.

Letter to the Governor on E-Fairness

/ Categories: Research, E-Fairness

On behalf of the members, staff, and distinguished volunteer leadership of Florida TaxWatch, led by our Chairman, U.S. Senator George S. LeMieux, I strongly encourage you to sign Senate Bill 50 – The Randy Miller Act – known by most as the 2021 E-Fairness bill or the taxpayer penalty relief endeavor.

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