Budget Watch - Budget Outlook for FY2017-18 Getting Tighter

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps
Just as they did at their last conference in January, Florida’s revenue estimators reduced the state’s General Revenue (GR) projections. The GR Estimating Conference met on August 15, 2016 and reduced expected collections by $131.9 million in the current year (FY2016-17) and by $131.1 million for the next budget year (FY2017-18).

Budget Watch - Budget Process Underway for FY2017-18

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps
The FY2017-18 budget process is now underway. The Governor’s office recently provided budget instructions to state agencies to use in formulating their legislative budget requests (LBRs), which are due on October 14. The Governor will then use the LBRs to develop his budget recommendations, which must be provided to the Legislature at least 30 days before the start (March 7) of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Budget Watch - Governor's FY2016-17 Recommended Budget

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings
Florida legislators received news this week that they will have $395.6 million less to spend on the next state budget than originally anticipated. Citing weaker corporate profits and adverse developments in the international economy, the state General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference decreased its estimates of GR collections in each of the six years in its forecast horizon.

Budget Watch - What is the Cost of Florida's State and Local Government?

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Local Government
Florida’s has historically held the reputation of being a low-tax state, and that is largely true, especially at the state level. But taxes do not tell the whole story of what government costs its citizens. Taxes, especially those reported to the U.S. Census Bureau, exclude a large amount of revenue paid into government co ers by citizens. And that non-tax revenue accounts for a much higher portion of government total revenue in Florida than in the average state. A better measure of the cost of government is “own source revenue,” which Florida TaxWatch has been tracking in its How Florida Compares series. Own source revenue includes all direct revenue except for intergovernmental aid, revenue from government-owned utilities and other enterprises, and social insurance funds. It includes non-tax revenue such as fees, charges for services, special assessments, impact fees and net lottery revenue.

Budget Watch - Governor's FY2016-17 Recommended Budget

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Local Government
Governor Rick Scott’s budget recommendations for FY2016-17 total $79.252 billion—an increase of 1.1 percent ($855.1 million) over current year spending. General Revenue (GR) spending of $29.260 billion would be an increase of 1.4 percent over the current year. The budget proposes to fund 112,823 state employee positions, 864 fewer than currently exist.

Challenges Facing Florida's Community-Based Child Welfare System

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Education
In this study, Florida TaxWatch evaluates the two primary issues contributing to, and subsequently worsened by the increased demand on the system: workforce instability and increasing need for services. The study concludes by recommending that the state examine options that improve service accessibility and availability and enhance workforce stability.

Budget Watch - 2016-17 Legislative Budget Requests

Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion.

Budget Watch - Projected Surplus Not As Large As It Seems

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
It is estimated that the 2016 Florida Legislature will have a budget surplus for FY2016-17, meaning major budget cuts should not be needed and there should be some money left over for new initiatives. After funding a continuation budget, including expected cost increases in current programs and other historically funded items, it is anticipated that there will be $635.4 million (including an allowance for $1 billion in cash reserves) in General Revenue (GR) left over.

Budget Watch - 2015 Special Session Preview

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
Lawmakers return to Tallahassee next week to finish budget negotiations, but will have to resolve more than differences in healthcare spending. The May edition of Budget Watch outlines the scope of the Special Session, noting that lawmakers will also consider conforming bills ranging from transportation networks to child welfare agencies.

Budget Watch - House and Senate Proposed Budgets

A more than $4 billion dollar difference between the House and Senate budget proposals is detailed in this annual analysis of the initial budgets, which shows that the largest point of contention between the chambers is in funding the health and human services portion of the budget.

Smaller Schools, Not Smaller Classes

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Education
While Florida's $30 billion investment in smaller class sizes has not resulted in increased achievement for public school students, smaller schools promise a variety of education-related benefits. This report shows a variety of positive outcomes stemming from smaller schools rather than smaller class sizes.

Budget Watch - Florida's Business Tax Climate Judged to be the Nation's 5th Best

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
A new national report ranking Florida's business climate as 5th best in the nation highlights the state's strengths but may overstate the attractiveness of Florida's tax system, according to this report. The ranking is from the Tax Foundation's 2015 Business Tax Climate Index, an annual publication that analyzes how tax structures compare across states.

Budget Watch - Small Surplus Projected for Next Florida State Budget

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
Florida lawmakers are expected to have a small budget surplus when they come to Tallahassee in 2015. State economists have predicted that funding a continuation budget next year will leave $336.2 million in available General Revenue funds. This is the fourth surplus in four years, despite being less than half of the surplus in fiscal year 2013-14.

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.
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