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.

After COVID-19: Rethinking how the state delivers services to Floridians in need

/ Categories: Research, Cost Savings

Application surges during the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed the shortcomings of the current state-administered, federal safety net programs, especially the Reemployment Assistance (Unemployment Insurance) program. This report explores Florida’s opportunity to implement more efficient and cost-effective business processes, thus reducing the size of government, saving the taxpayers money, and improving service delivery to Floridians in need.

Bringing Florida's Budget Back From COVID-19

A Roadmap for a Responsible Recovery

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings

As the nation recovers from one of the worst economic recessions in history, Florida continues to battle unprecedented fiscal challenges and budget shortfalls that have made business-as-usual in state government unsustainable. In response to this crisis, this report presents immediately actionable ideas in the event that a significant budget deficit occurs in FY2020-21.

Keeping Workers' Compensation Premiums Low Through Independent Medical Review

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care, Insurance, Cost Savings

In this research report, TaxWatch looks at the success of the IMR program in California in an attempt to answer the question “what if IMR was in use in Florida?” TaxWatch is pleased to present policymakers and stakeholders with an independent analysis of a program we think may be helpful in keeping the costs of workers’ compensation insurance down while helping to ensure that injured workers receive appropriate treatment.

Budget Watch - More Revenue for the Next Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings, Taxpayer Guide
As the Florida Legislature prepares to go into conference budget negotiations to finalize the FY2018-19 budget, state estimators gave lawmakers a bit of good news. Florida’s General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference met on February 9 and forecast that the state would collect an additional $461.8 million in FY2017-18 and FY2018-19.

Budget Watch - Projected Shortfall Requires Action

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings, Taxpayer Guide
The 2017 Legislature will be facing a very tight budget year. After a string of three straight years with projected budget surpluses ranging from $336 million to $846 million, it is now estimated that during the next legislative session there will be just enough money to fund a continuation budget for FY2017-18. What’s more, significant budget shortfalls loom in subsequent years.

Discretion on the Bench

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
This report recommends the implementation of a “Judicial Safety Valve” that would give judges the discretion to deviate from mandatory minimums for low-level offenders, but maintain the rights of victims, offenders, their attorneys, and the state to have input on sentencing decisions at sentencing hearings.

Locked Up then Locked Out

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
To decrease recidivism and increase the return on state investment in corrections, offenders need to be able to find jobs and keep them; however, there are several barriers to this goal. This paper addresses some of these barriers and makes policy recommendations.

2015-16 Government Efficiency Task Force Report

/ Categories: Research, Cost Savings

Pursuant to Article III, section 19(i) of the Florida Constitution, the Government Efficiency Task Force (“Task Force”) is pleased to submit its final recommendations to the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Legislative Budget Commission. The enclosed report includes 29 recommendations which, if implemented, will significantly improve the efficiency of government operations and will reduce the costs of government by more than $2 billion annually.

Lower Costs & Less Crime

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
Florida can no longer rely on the outdated and inefficient policies of the past, and must begin to consider policies and practices that not only keep Floridians safe, but also address the two primary drivers of growth in the criminal justice system: overincarceration and recidivism. The recommendations detailed in this report, while by no means an exhaustive list of necessary improvements, aim to put Florida on the path to achieve these goals.

Budget Watch - Governor's FY2016-17 Recommended Budget

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings
Florida legislators received news this week that they will have $395.6 million less to spend on the next state budget than originally anticipated. Citing weaker corporate profits and adverse developments in the international economy, the state General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference decreased its estimates of GR collections in each of the six years in its forecast horizon.

Reducing the Business Rent Tax

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Economic Development, Cost Savings
A reduction in the BRT would be broad-based, benefiting a large number of businesses. All businesses that rent commercial real estate pay the sales tax on those rents, regardless of their profitability or financial shape. Reducing the sales tax would help be a significant help to struggling companies. It would also help new businesses, who may find that other startup costs rule out purchasing real estate as an option.

An Analysis of the Florida Municipal Power Agency Audit

/ Categories: Research, Energy/Environment, Cost Savings
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.

Time for Telehealth

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Cost Savings
Florida lawmakers need to act quickly to connect patients with higher quality, timely care by using telehealth to bring the state's health policies into the 21st century, according to recommendations from this report, which notes that policymakers should immediately pursue incremental adoption of telehealth policies during the 2015 session.

Florida's Aging Prisoner Problem

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
Florida's prison population is rapidly increasing despite declining crime rates, and this report recommends options to prevent increasing costs from overwhelming taxpayers. The report warns that the steadily growing elderly prison population in state facilities will require more costly medical care, resulting in additional budget concerns for an already struggling Department of Corrections.

Over-Criminalization in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
Florida could save significant corrections costs by reducing prison sentences for nonviolent offenders, according to data analysis in this report. The report calls for the state to review options to reduce the prison population through downgrading offenses and implementing alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, level one and two offenders.
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