Monday, April 20 Florida TaxWatch celebrates Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2015: the day Floridians are finally earning money for themselves and 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. In 2015, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 110 out of 365 days, or more than three and a half months.
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.
As Florida House and Senate leaders prepare to negotiate the differences in their budget proposals passed last week, one potential sticking point will be tax cut packages. The latest Florida TaxWatch Budget Watch outlines the tax cut options thus far.
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.
A more than $4 billion dollar difference between the House and Senate budget proposals is detailed in this annual analysis of the initial budgets, which shows that the largest point of contention between the chambers is in funding the health and human services portion of the budget.
Florida delivers substance abuse and mental health services to the indigent and uninsured through a regional model managed by Behavioral Health Managing Entities (BHMEs). This report finds that this BHME model is a good behavioral healthcare system that provides a framework for future success.
The lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region, is an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean that devours native fish and competes for food with native predators, and represents a threat to several important industries in Florida, including sport and commercial fishing, and to the health of coral reefs and the biodiversity in our waters.
Easing the tax burden for Florida families and businesses would also attract business investment, create Florida jobs and grow the state's information-based economy, according to this report, which highlights the state's Communications Services Tax, the fourth highest in the nation.
This report, the third in a series, outlines options to reform Florida's class size limits that have cost taxpayers more than $30 billion since voters approved them in a 2002 constitutional amendment.
This Budget Watch analyzes Governor Scott's FY2015-16 budget recommendations.
This report highlights several often overlooked benefits to the program, including that it is one of the only economic development programs available to retailers and that companies in Enterprise Zones provided necessary services to their communities, such as access to food and medications.
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.
Florida's state agencies are requesting $75.602 billion from the Legislature in 2015, a modest increase of $660.8 million. Eighteen of the state's agencies are asking for more money in the upcoming budget year, while twelve agencies have proposed reducing their funding levels.
GrowFL, a state program designed to grow and develop the biggest job-creating companies in Florida should be expanded, according to this report, which shows that the program's impact statewide over the next ten years would help produce 25,000 jobs, diversify the state economy and provide positive return on Florida's investments.
This report projects another year of economic growth and recovery in 2015, reporting that Florida's economy will grow faster than the nation and Florida employment is expected to outpace the nation again in 2015.
According to this Budget Watch, lawmakers are expected to have $30.6 billion in General Revenue, plus unspent reserves, to create a state budget in 2015. An historic $30.6 billion budget would be $2.2 billion more than the current spending plan, an increase of 7.9 percent.
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.
The Center for Government Efficiency defines government efficiency as the intersection of cost avoidance, targeted investments and effective governance, three characteristics that define the recommendations included in this year's report, which could save Florida taxpayers billions of dollars.
In this report, TaxWatch examines a proposal facing the Palm Beach County Commission to allow out-of-county waste haulers to utilize their new renewable energy facility. TaxWatch was asked to examine the proposal by two County Commissioners
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.
The 2014 Florida TaxWatch Annual Report: Bridging the Gap Between Taxpayers and Their Government
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.
Florida retailers are expected to exceed 2013 holiday sales this year, according to this report; however, increased consumer spending may not benefit Florida retailers like it should due to a tax loophole.
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.
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.