Commercializing Florida's Public Research

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Education
Florida's universities and research institutes are creating of some of the states most advanced technologies, but one Florida Institute is helping to bring them to the masses. The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, highlighted in this Economic Commentary, invests in developing companies using the latest products and processes invented at Florida's publicly-funded universities and research institutes.

Taking a Fresh Look at Florida's Class Size Limits

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Education, Cost Savings
Since voters approved a 2002 Constitutional Amendment to reduce class sizes, taxpayers have spent more than $27 billion (including capital facilties and operating costs) to comply with the law, despite research that shows smaller class sizes do not result in higher achievement levels for students in grades 4-12. According to this report, changing the calculations for determining class size restrictions would better serve students and could save taxpayers $10 billion over ten years.

When it Costs More to Pay Less

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
Florida's Assistant State Attorneys and Assistant Public Defenders are significantly undercompensated, as shown in findings from this research report. The new report analyzes Assistant State Attorney and Assistant Public Defender pay across each of Florida's judicial circuits and finds that their low pay contributes to high turnover rates, causing delays in judicial processing and increased taxpayer investment in new employee training, costing taxpayers more than $15 million annually.

Statement: TaxWatch Stands Behind APRN Report

/ Categories: Research, Health Care
Florida TaxWatch released a statement from Robert E. Weissert, Esq., Chief Research Officer and General Counsel, standing firmly behind a recent briefing outlining the debate between Florida's health care practitioners. The statement addresses concerns, already refuted in the report, raised by a special interest group opposed to removing practice restrictions on the 15,000 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in Florida.

Budget Watch - Latest Estimating Conferences

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Cost Savings
Already enjoying what is called a more than $1 billion budget surplus to appropriate during the 2014 Legislative Session, lawmakers were given another $150 million by the latest General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference. This Budget Watch report for this coming fiscal year examines the latest round of estimating conferences by state economists and recommends that the Legislature still consider this a tight budget year and continue to implement cost-saving reforms such as those identified by the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency.

Economic Impact Evaluation of a Proposed Honeybee Research and Extension Laboratory in Florida

A new honeybee research facility could make Florida a global leader in agricultural research and is estimated to return more than $1 million in state tax revenue to Florida. The proposed facility, to be established at the University of Florida, would attract research revenue as well as help recruit and retain top researchers and students.

Evaluating Opportunities in Expanding Outdoor Advertising

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Local Government
Many local governments in Florida have taken advantage of the practice of selling advertising on local transit vehicles and bus shelters, similar to the recommendations made by Florida TaxWatch in multiple cost-savings reports. TaxWatch evaluates allowing advertising on the boxes that house traffic signal controllers in this Report.

Diagnosing the Debate: APRN Scope of Practice

/ Categories: Research, Health Care
Allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to practice to the fullest extent of their training and experience would increase access to quality health care for Floridians while saving the state up to $339 million, according to this Briefing. To facilitate such practice, Florida's practice and regulation laws must be revisited to remove barriers to nurse practitioner-provided care.

Critical Connections to Care

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care
Statewide expansion of telemedicine could save Florida more than $1 billion annually, according to this TaxWatch report. The report highlights the importance of removing barriers and including incentives for encouraging the use of telemedicine through the creation of a solid policy foundation.

Florida's University Research Parks

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Education
Florida's nine university research parks help create high-wage jobs, diversify the state economy and ensure Florida retains top graduates, according to this month's Economic Commentary. The report highlights the importance of Florida's research parks to the creation and sustainability of STEM jobs in the state.

Budget Watch - Florida's Finances Strong

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps
The fiscal condition of Florida's state government is in good shape as evidenced by a new study that ranks the state sixth overall in the nation, though there are some limitations with the reports findings, according to this analysis by Florida TaxWatch.

Reforming Florida's IT Governance Structure

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps
Florida must have an integrated Information Technology (IT) Governance model to improve IT services and reduce costs, according to this Report. The Report analyzes Florida's needs and options and finds that a federated governance structure will reduce duplicative IT investments and allow the state to allocate resources more efficiently.

Florida's 2013 Job Growth

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
Florida's growing economy created an estimated 192,900 private sector jobs in 2013, according to this annual jobs report. The 2013 growth rates show Florida leading the nations high-population states with the largest per-capita increase in jobs. The state also saw the second-largest yearly percentage increase in non-farm employment in the nation with a 2.6 percent growth rate.

Diversifying Florida's Economy Through Local Economic Development

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Local Government
This report shows that all economic development strategies are not created equal, and details the spillover effects of several popular economic development projects. Although each local community must address its individual economic needs, the report shows that targeting certain areas of economic growth produce higher return on investment.

Budget Watch - Governor's Proposed Budget - FY2014-15

Highlights from Governor Rick Scott's proposed budget plan for FY 2014-15 are featured in this Budget Watch Report. The $74.20 billion spending plan is slightly lower than current year spending, even as lawmakers are expected to have their first budget surplus in many years.

2013 Florida Juvenile Justice Inventory

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial
In order to meet the growing demand for juvenile justice programs throughout Florida, many new programs have been developed. But in order for Florida to take full advantage of available resources, it is essential to know what those resources are. This Inventory is the first step in the process of creating a comprehensive list.

The Effect of Changes in the National Flood Insurance Program on Florida

/ Categories: Research, Insurance
This Economic Commentary recommends that the required analysis be completed to determine the impact of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. Removal of the subsidies could affect home values and purchasing patterns, potentially resulting in reduced tax receipts from local property tax collections. To determine if the impact will be substantial, the report recommends the Federal Emergency Management Agency conduct the required affordability study prior to implementation of the Act.

Modern Management & Sensible Savings

This Report, from the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency, highlights more than $1 billion in savings for Florida taxpayers, without reducing state-provided services. The six comprehensive recommendations included in the Report address replacement of the state's accounting system; information technology governance, procurement and state asset management; pension reform; criminal justice reform; state health insurance reforms; and revenue maximization.
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