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.
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.
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.
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.
This Briefing recommends that the state decriminalize the possession of minor amounts of oxycodone and hydrocodone, and lower mandatory minimums to save significant tax dollars, reduce prison populations, and help shift the focus to treatment for substance abuse problems.
This Briefing recommends that the state put in place the guidelines for an Adult Civil Citation program, patterned on the existing Juvenile Civil Citation program, which offers an alternative process to misdemeanor arrest for first-time nonviolent youth offenders.
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.
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.
Florida is neglecting millions of dollars in federal tax incentives, according to this Briefing. Federal legislation allows for tax deductions to offset the cost of energy efficient new buildings or building renovations, which result in added value to the state. TaxWatch recommends the state identify public buildings that could receive the tax deduction.
This summary of the Florida TaxWatch Center for Health & Aging ARNP Scope of Practice Summit recaps the presentations and panel discussion from the Summit, which brought together state and national policy experts on the topic, and helped to advance reform discussions in the Capitol.
Continuing a legacy that has resulted in the savings of at least $3.5 billion in Floridians' hard-earned tax dollars over the last four years alone, Florida TaxWatch added more than $1 billion in cost-saving options for lawmakers this year, with the release of this Report. This year's Report is the fifth in as many years from Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog headquartered in Tallahassee.
According to this report, Florida has the potential to collect millions of dollars for energy efficiency enhancement projects already completed, or planned.
Updated to include Governor Scott's vetos, this piece details the progress made this legislative session on the GCSTF Recommendations for FY 2012-13
The Task Force provides a compilation of 135 extensively researched recommendations aimed at achieving major cost-savings and cost containment in many areas of state government.
Florida receives less money in federal grants to state and local governments than nearly every other state. This report examines the reasons why the Florida pays more than it gets back.
The Task Force provides a compilation of 125 extensively researched recommendations aimed at achieving major cost-savings and cost containment in many areas of state government.
This report explains how and why competitive bidding for contracts is imperative in order to achieve the best value for Florida taxpayers on state purchases of goods and services.
"Written independently of Florida TaxWatch, this report explores whether an Inspector General can be objective if he or she is subject to removal at the pleasure of the agency head. "
This briefing outlines how expansion of the duties of Inspector General will help ensure that the state's internal audit capability will identify ways of improving overall cost-effectiveness.
The Task Force provides a compilation of 88 extensively researched recommendations that could help the state save more than $3 billion in the first year and beyond.
"Warning against indiscriminate across-the-board cuts that jeopardize health and safety, this report makes the case for balancing the budget through the elimination of inefficiencies in government operations and purging non-essential programs. "