Florida Shouldn’t “Eat Our Seed Corn” by Diverting Tourist Development Tax Revenue
Tourist Development Taxes (TDTs) play a vital role in Florida counties’ promotion of tourism in their areas. Over the years, the Legislature has added more and more authorized uses of this revenue, diluting the funding available for tourism promotion and advertising. During the 2020 session, efforts to further expanded the authorized uses are continuing. The “slippery slope” warning raised by the tourism industry and Florida TaxWatch in the past has become a reality.
Local taxing and spending is a major part of Florida government operations. More than half of all Florida government revenue (53.1 percent) is raised at the local level, one of the highest shares in the nation. Florida’s 66 county governments (plus Jacksonville’s consolidated government), more than 400 municipal governments, and approximately 1,000 independent special districts spend nearly $80 billion annually. This report compares the magnitude and makeup of Florida’s local governments’ fiscal operations. It does not attempt to compare or evaluate levels of service.
The 2019 Edition of this annual pocket guide gives taxpayers and elected officials great insight as to how Florida's taxes compare to other states and the national average across a wide variety of metrics.
On Thursday, May 2, the Senate took up the tax package passed by the House (HB 7123) and adopted a strike-all amendment that put the Senate package on the bill. It kept many of the provisions (with some changes), added some new provisions, and removed one controversial provision, and changed another.
On Sunday, April 14, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2019. 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.
Florida TaxWatch has researched this issue for more than 15 years, producing numerous reports and offerings recommendations. But the courts’ physical presence requirement has always been a major obstacle. But now that obstacle is gone as a result of the US Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision, and it is time for the Legislature to fix this. Senate Bill 1112 can achieve this long-elusive goal.
The non-collection of sales taxes on sales to Florida customers by remote (out-of-state) sellers has been the most significant tax compliance and collection issue facing Florida and other states for many years. Remote vendors sell products by the internet, telephone, and mail. Historically, the courts have held that when a remote seller makes a sale to a person in a state in which the seller does not have a physical presence, that state cannot require the seller to collect the sales tax due and remit it to the state.
Since the enactment of the Communications Services Tax (CST) Simplification Act in 2001, Florida TaxWatch has released several reports recommending that the Legislature reduce this burdensome and highly regressive tax on consumers. Florida’s CST is very high, relative to both other states and the sales tax on the purchase of other goods. This high rate makes the tax punitive and distortionary, and makes the state less competitive than other states, including the potential for reducing investment in broadband network infrastructure.
Public Notice of Important Property Tax Changes should not be Diminished
The TRIM process is a vital taxpayer protection tool and we should continually strive to make it better. Lessening the ability of taxpayers to access this information weakens the law. Taxpayers deserve to get concise, accurate and unvarnished information about how local government decisions affect the property taxes that they pay.
A proposed constitutional amendment initiative that would destructure Florida’s energy market may appear on the November 2020 general election ballot that would (if approved) radically change Florida’s energy market. This independent analysis estimates the financial impacts of deregulation on tax revenues and to help Florida taxpayers better understand the effects of the proposed deregulation.
On November 6, 2018, Floridians voted on 12 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. Eleven of the 12 passed with at least a 60 percent majority, all but Amendment 1, which would have provided an additional $25,000 homestead property tax exemption. But the amendments were not the only thing that voters had to agree on. In addition to the amendments, voters across Florida chose to put in place a number of local tax measures and new bond issues.
Proposed Homestead Exemption Benefits Relatively Few Floridians and Will Likely Increase Taxes on Everyone Else
Floridians will be voting on as many as 13 state constitutional amendments on November 6, 2018. The first on the list, Amendment 1 (A1), would create a new $25,000 homestead exemption from property taxes.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling that paves the way for a successful resolution to an issue Florida TaxWatch has fought for more than 15 years.
The 2018 Edition of this annual pocket guide gives taxpayers and elected officials great insight as to how Florida's taxes compare to other states and the national average across a wide variety of metrics.
Saturday, April 14, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2018. 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.
The House unveiled its 2018 tax cut package (HB 7087) almost a month ago, while the Senate’s did not appear until week 8 of
the session when it was amended onto SB 620 in the Appropriations Committee. The bills have a lot of similarities, but there are big differences that will have to be negotiated before a final tax cut package is approved.
On February 14, 2018, the House Ways & Means Committee unveiled and passed its proposed tax cut package. The bill contains numerous tax relief provisions, covering sales taxes, property taxes, corporate income taxes, documentary stamp taxes and traffic fines. Several temporary exemptions to provide tax relief for agriculture and homeowners impacted by hurricanes are included.
The 2018 Legislature has an opportunity to strengthen and increase the independence of an important taxpayer safeguard—the Florida Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate. Senate Bill 826 and House Bill 1345 would make the needed changes to the law.
As the Florida Legislature prepares to go into conference budget negotiations to finalize the FY2018-19 budget, state estimators gave lawmakers a bit of good news. Florida’s General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference met on February 9 and forecast that the state would collect an additional $461.8 million in FY2017-18 and FY2018-19.
This publication compares the revenue and expenditure profiles of Florida’s 67 counties to give taxpayers an overview of how their local government stacks up with the rest of the state. The report presents the most recently available data regarding: property taxes, other taxes and fees, county and municipal revenues, county and municipal expenditures, and other related measures.
Florida TaxWatch has compiled a comprehensive list of state and local tax and fees changes—increases and decreases--enacted by the Florida Legislature since 2010. It includes every new or eliminated tax or fee, changes to tax rates or fee levels, exemptions, credits, expanded bases and more.
Having led in the enactment of Florida’s current consitutional state revenue limitation, Florida TaxWatch has been recommending a simpler and higher standard to pass tax increases since 1995.
The new Outlook forecasts that after funding a continuation budget, there will be $52.0 million in General Revenue (GR) left over, until the financial impacts of Hurricane Irma are considered.
Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2017-18 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2017. After deducting the Governor’s vetoes, the net result is FY2017-18 appropriations totaling $85.158 billion, a $2.9 billion (3.5%) increase over FY2016-17.
The 2017 Florida Legislature passed a $82.418 billion General Appropriations Act (GAA), already the largest in the state’s history. But this is not all the money appropriated this year.