The TaxWatch Research Blog

The TaxWatch Research Blog is a forum where our research staff can address topics and issues in a short format. Keep an eye on this space during Legislative Session for frequent posts making sense of the activity at the Capitol. 

2022 Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government

On Thursday, April 14, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2022. On that day, Floridians are finally earning money for themselves–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. This measure of tax burden is based on the relative size of all taxes paid in Florida to our state’s total personal income. In 2022, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 103 out of 365 days, nearly three and a half months.

2022 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 2022 legislative session is over, even if it ran a little long. Florida TaxWatch and the state’s taxpayers had a number of successes. Many bills and budget issues supported by our research and recommendations passed. Our research and input that raised concerns with legislation, helped to improve them or fail passage, including changes to the tax audit system and a very costly approach to improving data privacy

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools:

SMART Program Quarterly Report Review for the Quarter Ended December 31, 2021

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC, BOC

On February 19, 2022, Florida TaxWatch received the Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter Ended December 31, 2021 (“Quarterly Report”). This report provides updated information on the implementation of the District’s SMART Program and the use of general obligation bond funds to purchase and install technology upgrades, purchase music and arts equipment, improve school safety, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.

HOUSE AND SENATE BUDGET PROPOSALS ARE $3.3 BILLION APART

There are Plenty of Issues to Negotiate

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The House and Senate have passed their respective budgets and now must hold budget conference meetings to hammer out the differences. An agreement must be reached on every number and every word in the 400-plus page appropriations bill. Budget negotiations are never easy and this year will be no exception, even with so much money available.

“Why Human Trafficking Is More Than Just A Moral Issue.”

/ Categories: Research, Blog

January 2022 marked the 12th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Month. A recognized memorial since 2010, the designation seeks to raise human trafficking awareness and educate the public about the crime’s heinous impact on millions of people across the world. Given the criminal enterprise nature of human trafficking, there is also an inherent economic cost to communities and the state of Florida when exploitation prevents victims from leading dignified, generative lives. What are the costs and implications of human trafficking in Florida?

Wage Growth and Talent Attraction in the Pandemic Labor Market

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development

Amid a tight labor market and the ongoing “great resignation,” companies are pursuing creative and concerted efforts to attract and retain talent. Especially for service industries wrestling with existing labor shortages, recruitment methods have included sign-up bonuses, tuition reimbursement, free coding classes, and of course, higher wages. These strategies have produced higher pay for many workers and signaled a reversal from the lackluster wage growth in the years leading up to the pandemic.

A River (No Longer) Runs Through It

/ Categories: Research, Energy/Environment

This timely public policy debate centers on whether the dam and reservoir should remain in place or whether the dam should be breached to restore the natural flow of the Ocklawaha River. The “full retention” alternative would essentially maintain the status quo, while the “partial restoration” alternative would restore the river flow to near preconstruction conditions with limited removal of existing structures at the lowest cost. For each of these two alternatives, Florida TaxWatch examines the recreational,  economic, and environmental impacts.

Manufacturing a Transformational Shift—Expanding Florida’s Workforce Development Through Sector Strategies

A Summary of the 2021 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development

FloridaMakes is a statewide, industry-led, public-private partnership operated by an alliance of Florida’s regional manufacturers’ associations. Since its inception in 2016, FloridaMakes has had an economic impact of $2.6 billion with almost 17,000 jobs created and/or retained. The pandemic underscored the important role Florida’s Manufacturing sector plays in providing products that are crucial to public health and safety, national security, and the continuity of many other industries.

Aging in Place—The Economic and Fiscal Value of Home and Community-Based Services

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

Similar to demographic trends across the U.S., Florida will encounter a rapid increase in the number of elderly residents requiring long-term care and services. Florida’s 65 and older population is anticipated to grow by 52.1 percent over the next two decades from 4.4 to 6.7 million elderly residents. A variety of continuum of care options exists to accommodate the impending rise in long-term healthcare utilization, ranging from nursing homes to home and community-based settings. Not only do these options differ in their public costs and quality outcomes, but the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the importance of physical risk and exposure to infection when considering what long-term settings exist. Due to the projected growth in Florida’s elderly population over the coming decades, it will be critical to expand resources across the state’s entire continuum of care.

New General Revenue Estimates Add Another $4.0 Billion to Amount Available for the Next Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

With state coffers already swelling, the General Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on January 21, 2022, to develop the state’s new forecast for general revenue (GR) collections. This is the revenue estimate that the 2022 Legislature will use for the new FY2022-23 state budget. The REC increased its estimate for GR collections by $3.3 billion in the current year (FY2021-22) and by $704 million in FY 2022-23. This means lawmakers have another $4 billion available to spend. Florida was already in its best fiscal shape in history.

THE GREAT IMBALANCE: INFLATION’S INFLUENCE IN THE COVID-19 ECONOMY

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development

INFLATION IS HARDLY A NEW PHENOMENON EXCLUSIVE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC; however, for decades preceding the pandemic, price increases were a subtle and often unnoticed component of the economy. The last time inflation posed a serious and prolonged threat to economic growth—in the early 1980s—Ronald Reagan was the president, the Iranian Hostage Crisis had ended, and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark made its theater debut. The early 1980s signified the end of what economists called “The Great Inflation” period in U.S. history.

The Impacts of Lawsuits Against Local Governments for Business Damages

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Local Government

The 2022 Florida Legislature is debating two pieces of legislation that add to the process of passing local ordinances and provides additional rights to businesses and residents who wish to challenge those ordinances. This Session Spotlight takes a detailed look at SB620/CS/HB569 & CS/SB280/HB403.

Closing the Digital Divide-The Expansion of Broadband Internet Service to Unserved Areas of the State

/ Categories: Research

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of access to reliable and affordable high-quality broadband Internet service to our daily lives. Communities that currently lack access to the affordable, reliable, high-quality broadband Internet that is necessary for full participation in education, health care, employment, social services and government programs, and civic life are at a marked disadvantage without that access. To help ensure that all Florida communities have access to reliable and affordable high-quality broadband Internet service Florida TaxWatch recommends the following:

WORKING PAPER: Where Are The Women?

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Blog

This working paper is an endeavor to learn more about Florida’s labor force participation rate of women. Exploring reasons for women’s absence from the workforce can help Florida better understand the needs of its entire workforce. As a working paper, Florida TaxWatch hopes to start a discussion and encourage others to offer their insights about women’s absence from the workforce.

 

The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Education and Training Beyond High School in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Education

An increasingly technological and information-driven economy generally requires higher levels of educational achievement for both individual and community success. To sustain continued economic growth and competitiveness, Florida must maintain a workforce with the types of skills— trade and professional—that can attract high-wage, high-value industries.

Despite Positive Job Growth In Recent Months, People Are Quitting Jobs At Record Rates

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Blog

Often overlooked in favor of more eye-catching employment headlines such as unemployment rates and job creation numbers, job quitting rates are an indispensable part of understanding the overall economic recovery. Newly released national data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal the number of people quitting their jobs in November 2021 hit a record high of 4.5 million—far above any other level on record since data first started being recorded. Since the summer of 2021, a collective 21.3 million individuals have quit their jobs across the nation.

THE GOVERNOR’S FY 2022-23 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS

With Flush State Coffers, the Governor’s Budget Would Make Significant Investments While Leaving Billions in the Bank

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

As the Florida TaxWatch Budget Watch series1 has been detailing, the budget outlook for the state is extremely rosy. Governor DeSantis’s 2022-23 budget recommendations reflect the current fiscal environment. It totals $99.7 billion and just like the current budget, the price tag does not fully account for all the spending it contains.

Florida Will Receive Billions From The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, But Is It The State’s Fair Share?

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Transportation

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA),1 signed by President Biden on November 15, 2021, will make a significant investment in the nation’s transportation system and other infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be distributed to the states for a wide range of projects, including all modes of transportation, broadband, cyber security, water infrastructure, energy, climate change, resiliency, and pollution mitigation. Florida will get a sizable chunk of these funds.

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools: SMART Program Quarterly Report Review for the Quarter Ended September 30, 2021

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC, BOC

On November 26, 2021, Florida TaxWatch received the Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter Ended September 30, 2021 (“Quarterly Report”). This report provides updated information on the implementation of the District’s SMART Program and the use of general obligation bond funds to purchase and install technology upgrades, purchase music, and art equipment, improve school safety, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.

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