Florida Sees Solid Job Growth in All Sectors in 2014

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
For the past four years, the January edition of the monthly Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary has analyzed the annual Florida employment figures for the previous year. Since the first such analysis in January 2011, Florida has gained approximately 710,200 nonfarm jobs, which equates to a 9.9 percent growth.

Touchdowns, Tackles, and Tax Revenue

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Local Government
Bowl games benefit Florida's economy best when they host out-of-state teams, since fans travel to stay in Florida hotels and are encouraged to spend time at Florida's theme parks, beaches and other attractions. Benefits of postseason bowl games include additional tax revenue, more money circulating through local and regional economies, and national exposure for host cities.

Smaller Schools, Not Smaller Classes

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Education
While Florida's $30 billion investment in smaller class sizes has not resulted in increased achievement for public school students, smaller schools promise a variety of education-related benefits. This report shows a variety of positive outcomes stemming from smaller schools rather than smaller class sizes.

Florida's Retail Sales Growth Outpaces Nation

/ Categories: Research, Taxpayer Guide
November marks the beginning of the holiday season and the start of retailers’ busiest days of the year. This year, Florida holiday sales are expected to be better than those in 2013, according to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. This is good news for Florida, since retail trade is the third-largest employer by industry, and general sales taxes make up 74.2 percent of the state’s General Revenue.

Taxing Thanksgiving

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide
Floridians have another reason to be thankful this holiday season: Florida is not one of the 14 states in the nation that tax groceries. While most food that Florida residents prepare themselves for a Thanksgiving feast is exempt, some of the items on dinner tables may be subject to the state's sales tax, ranging from six to 7.5 percent.

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.

Budget Watch - Florida's Business Tax Climate Judged to be the Nation's 5th Best

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
A new national report ranking Florida's business climate as 5th best in the nation highlights the state's strengths but may overstate the attractiveness of Florida's tax system, according to this report. The ranking is from the Tax Foundation's 2015 Business Tax Climate Index, an annual publication that analyzes how tax structures compare across states.

Medical Tourism in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care, Tourism
Already a capital of global tourism, Florida has an opportunity to bring even more tourists and more revenue to the state by investing in medical tourism, according to this report, which finds that patients visiting Florida from around the United States and the world for planned medical procedures could have a significant impact on the state economy and while improving residents' health care options.

Budget Watch - Small Surplus Projected for Next Florida State Budget

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
Florida lawmakers are expected to have a small budget surplus when they come to Tallahassee in 2015. State economists have predicted that funding a continuation budget next year will leave $336.2 million in available General Revenue funds. This is the fourth surplus in four years, despite being less than half of the surplus in fiscal year 2013-14.

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.

Northwest Florida's Opportunities for Growth

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Local Government
State and local economic development professionals, with help from the Florida Legislature, are working to diversify the Panhandle's economy using the area's transportation assets, skilled workforce, and natural coastlines. The Panhandle region is home to three seaports, six military installations, natural coastlines and 1.4 million permanent residents, creating major opportunities for growth in skilled manufacturing, trade and logistics, and tourism

Budget Watch - Budget Outlook Becoming Clearer

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
Florida's latest cycle of revenue and expenditure estimating conferences show that Florida is still in a healthy post-recession recovery; however, the conferences have resulted in forecasts with slightly tempered expectations. Generally, projections of revenues were reduced from the previous estimates, even though the funds are expected to continue to grow year over year.
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