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.
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
The Taxwatch Voter Guide for 2014 explains the three amendments facing voters this November.
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.
This infographic shows job growth in Florida over the past year.
On the precipice of college football kickoff, this report highlights the economic benefits of Florida's seven Division I NCAA football teams, and explains how football programs increase revenue for schools and the state as a whole.
Investment in Floridas tourism industry resulted in nearly 76,000 jobs created in 2013, according to this report. The independent analysis shows that the state should meet the goal of attracting 100 million visitors to Florida by 2015, which has a significant impact on job creation in the state.
When the 2015 Legislature convenes in Tallahassee, it is expected to have nearly $30 billion in General Revenue to create the state budget for FY 2015-16. However, after this month's GR Estimating Conference, the new General Revenue projection is $141.6 million less than previously thought.
Florida seaports are performing very well under a decentralized governance model, managing and meeting their local needs while implementing a state level strategy to holistically enhance Floridas economic climate, according to this joint report from Florida TaxWatch and the Florida Ports Council.
From August 1-3, Floridians will save nearly $40 million in taxes while they shop tax-free for back-to-school supplies. Florida families can purchase clothing, school supplies, and even computers up to $750 tax-free. This infographic shows the estimated savings for taxpayers over the history of this annual tax holiday.
All the bills passed by the 2014 Legislature have now been evaluated by the state's revenue estimators, resulting in a revenue reduction of more than $550 in the current fiscal year. Local revenues will be reduced by $41.5 million and $37.0 million. Despite the declining revenue estimates, the reduction still leaves $1.65 billion in general revenue reserves for the fiscal year, according to the July Budget Watch.
Florida's job growth is steadily improving according to this report, which analyzes job growth data and shows higher job creation numbers for Florida than in the previous year, indicating a healthier state economy.
Floridas booming aircraft manufacturing industry is helping to diversify the state, according to a new report. The report, Ready for Takeoff: Florida Can Lead The Nation In Aircraft Manufacturing, shows that Florida is the most attractive state for aircraft manufacturing, illustrated by the number of industry companies relocating to the state.
Florida's favorable agricultural climate positions the state as the second largest produce exporter in the nation, according to a new report, which finds that the farming and processing of Florida produce contributes more than $7.5 billion to the state economy.
International home purchasers play an integral role in Florida's housing market, according to this analysis of home sales. This report highlights the nations that have the highest amount of home purchases in the Sunshine State, and projects future home sales.
Commuter train projects in Florida have generated some economic activity and job growth in Central and South Florida, though major concerns exist for taxpayers around the state, according to this Economic Commentary. The report highlights Orlandos new SunRail project and South Florida's All Aboard Florida commuter rail line, expected to begin operating in 2016.
This years Budget Turkey Report finds $120 million in projects slipped into the budget without a full and transparent review.
The 2014 Session has come to a close, and this Florida TaxWatch report details all of the issues that we followed this year.
Increased demand for new home construction is evidence that Florida is continuing its strong recovery from the Great Recession, according to this report. Housing starts are a leading economic indicator which reflects increased consumer demand.
Florida taxpayers have a reason to celebrate on Tuesday, April 22nd. The date marks Taxpayer Independence Day as estimated by Florida TaxWatch. April 22nd, 2014, is the first day in the calendar year that Florida taxpayers, on average, will begin earning income that does not go toward federal, state and local taxes.
This BudgetWatch report compares the FY2014-15 House and Senate budgets in each spending area, and shows the change versus the current fiscal year.
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.
The number of Floridians affected with Alzheimers is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent in the next decade, putting a strain on Florida's health care system and increasing costs for taxpayers, according to this report from Florida TaxWatch. The report calls for additional research into Alzheimers to prepare for the states aging population and to seek a viable preventative treatment.
Florida TaxWatch commends the Legislature for passing and Governor Scott for signing the first tax relief bill of the 2014 Legislative Session to reduce vehicle registration fees for all Floridians. This good bill will put up to $25 back in the pockets of each Florida driver and is a great way to make sure all Floridians benefit from broad tax relief. As a part of Governor Scotts "Its Your Money Tax Cut" that has been wisely embraced by the Legislature, reducing these vehicle registration fees will save Floridians $394.5 million annually.
The competing House and Senate tax cut proposals have many differences that need to be worked out, but there are beneficial provisions in both plans, according to this report, which compares the three proposals suggested by the Florida House, Senate and Governor Rick Scott to provide $500 million in tax cuts during the 2014 Legislative Session.