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.

An Independent Assessment of the Value of Broward up

/ Categories: Research, Education, Broward BOC

Broward UP (“Unlimited Potential”) is an innovative, community-centric approach to delivering necessary workforce education in communities most impacted by high unemployment and low education attainment. Pioneered by Broward College, Broward UP seeks to increase college access, improve degree and certificate attainment, and raise economic mobility in six Broward County ZIP codes with disproportionately higher rates of unemployment and lower educational attainment relative to surrounding areas. By providing free, in-demand courses, Broward UP holistically reduces the perpetuation of poverty in communities.

Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide

On Friday, April 9, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2021. 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.

Florida’s Proposed Privacy Protection Act

/ Categories: Research

Due to the proliferation of data-driven products and services over the past few years, many countries and states around the world have adopted laws relating to the data collection and use of personal information.

Economic Commentary - The State of Medicaid in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

Even as the economic recovery begins to take form in Florida, the challenges confronting the state’s Medicaid system will remain a forefront issue. For this reason, it is important to understand how Florida’s Medicaid program has fared during the public health emergency and what economic challenges lie ahead as the state goes forward in recovery.

Every Child a Swimmer

/ Categories: Research

Water, water, everywhere! Florida has more than 8,436 miles of shoreline and an estimated 1.5 million residential swimming pools. It should come as no surprise then that Florida leads the U.S. in unintentional drowning deaths of children ages 1–4.

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s Employment

Variations Across Industry, Region, and Income

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery

AS FLORIDA APPROACHES THE ONE-YEAR MARK SINCE THE STATE REPORTED ITS FIRST POSITIVE COVID-19 CASE, Florida’s recovery picture seems to be a mixed bag. The state closed out 2020 on an optimistic note as unemployment inched downward to 6.1 percent from a high of 13.8 percent in April 2020, but as January 2021 drew to a close, first time jobless benefit claims rose by more than 71,000 across the state.

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.

THE GOVERNOR’S FY2021-22 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS

Federal Funds Would Lead to Record Spending

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

Despite the negative revenue impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Legislature’s early talk of shortfalls and budget cuts, Governor Ron DeSantis has released a proposed budget for FY2021- 22 that totals $96.578 billion, a $4.308 billion (4.7 percent) increase over current year spending.

Bringing The Sunshine State Back: the Impact of COVID-19 Across Florida’s Economy & Options for Recovery

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Economic Development

As Florida continues to deal with the constantly changing COVID-19 pandemic, questions remain as to how the state will reverse one of the worst recessions in history while at the same time maintaining prudent public health and safety measures. The difficulty lies in the unequal manner in which the virus has wreaked havoc on the state’s various economic sectors. Due to the varied effects, understanding the nature and scope of each sector’s unique pandemic challenges is crucial to providing substantive policy recommendations going forward.

The Best Defense Is A Good Offense: The Economic Impact of Protecting Responsible Floridians from COVID-Related Civil Liability

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Economic Development

As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt by Florida’s businesses, non-profits, schools, colleges and universities, and healthcare providers, employers of all types are fearful of keeping their business open or reopening their business because of the threat of opportunistic, predatory, and expensive litigation resulting from alleged exposure to COVID-19 when they are taking proper precautions. 

Budget Watch - Finally, Some Good Budget News

New General Revenue Estimates Add $2.1 Billion to Expected Collections

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The General Revenue Estimating Conference (GREC) met on December 18 and 21 and increased Florida’s general revenue (GR) projections by $1.486 billion in the current budget year and $623 million in FY2021-22.1 This restores 39 percent of the $5.4 billion two-year reduction in the estimates adopted by the GREC last August. 

2021 Economic Preview: An Uncertain Yet Hopeful Year of Growth

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Economic Development


 AS WE CLOSE OUT A TUMULTUOUS YEAR for Florida, defined by COVID-19 and its resulting disruptions to everyday life, we consider what may lie ahead for Florida’s economy in 2021. If there’s one thing assured for next year, it is that much economic uncertainty will persist against the backdrop of a constantly changing pandemic. Yet with several promising vaccines on the horizon and gradually improving labor market conditions, Florida looks poised to undergo the slow but steady process of economic rebuilding over the coming year.

Q1 2020-21 Broward Schools SMART Program Report Review

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC, BOC

On November 20, 2020, Florida TaxWatch received the Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for

the Quarter Ended September 30, 2020 (“Quarterly Report”). This single 854-page 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 art equipment, improve

safety, upgrade athletic facilities and renovate educational facilities.

 

Tax Free Turkey?

The Taxation of Groceries in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Cost Savings

As Thanksgiving nears and we think about the many blessings we have to be thankful for, here’s another one to add to the list: groceries are exempt from the Florida sales tax.

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. 

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