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.

Seaport Governance Models

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
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.

Budget Watch - Legislation Affecting Florida Revenues

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.

The Rise of Commuter Rail in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
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.

2014 Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide
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.

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.

Florida's Looming Alzheimers Crisis

/ Categories: Research, Health Care
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.

STATEMENT: TaxWatch Commends Governor and Legislature for Reducing Vehicle Registration Fees

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings
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.

Comparing the House, Senate and Governor Tax Cut Proposals

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps
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.
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