Taxing Thanksgiving

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide
Floridians have another reason to be thankful this holiday season: Florida is not one of the 14 states in the nation that tax groceries. While most food that Florida residents prepare themselves for a Thanksgiving feast is exempt, some of the items on dinner tables may be subject to the state's sales tax, ranging from six to 7.5 percent.

Northwest Florida's Opportunities for Growth

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Local Government
State and local economic development professionals, with help from the Florida Legislature, are working to diversify the Panhandle's economy using the area's transportation assets, skilled workforce, and natural coastlines. The Panhandle region is home to three seaports, six military installations, natural coastlines and 1.4 million permanent residents, creating major opportunities for growth in skilled manufacturing, trade and logistics, and tourism

2014 Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide
Florida taxpayers have a reason to celebrate on Tuesday, April 22nd. The date marks Taxpayer Independence Day as estimated by Florida TaxWatch. April 22nd, 2014, is the first day in the calendar year that Florida taxpayers, on average, will begin earning income that does not go toward federal, state and local taxes.

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.

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.

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.

Bringing FL-SOLARIS to Life

According to this Briefing, progress on the organization of state-owned lands and facilities records has been made, although there is more to be done. The large, yet basic database has been established, but the important tasks of maintaining its relevance and making improvements remain. Phase II of this project offers significant taxpayer value.

Reforming Florida's Claim Bill Process

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Local Government
Florida's claim bill process is in need of reform. This process—by which persons can petition the legislature for payment of tort claims against government—has received increased attention in recent years due to high profile cases and large awards. This Report makes recommendations on reforming the system.

Economic Commentary: The Disproportionate Effect of Sequestration on Florida

If the "Sequester" kicks in on March 1, the immediate cuts to the budget authority are $85 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office has indicated that spending will be reduced by $44 billion by the end of September 2013. It is incredibly important that everyone understands how detrimental these cuts will be to U.S.'s fourth largest economy and to its recovery from the Great Recession. This Economic Commentary details some of the effects of these automatic federal spending cuts on Florida.

Legislature Should Reduce Florida's Communications Services Tax

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Local Government
This Briefing looks at the history of the CST in Florida, compares Florida's rates to other states, finding that Florida is the fourth-highest state in the U.S. for this tax, and recommends that the Legislature look to reduce CST rates to "benefit a wide range of Floridians, affecting virtually all individuals and businesses."

Investing in Tourism: the Economic Impact of Expanding Florida Tourism

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Tourism, Local Government
The economic modeling done in this Report, looking at the impact of investing more in Florida's tourism industry, indicates that the Florida tourism industry reaching the milestone of 100 million annual visitors would create 121,298 jobs, and increase overall personal income for Floridians by $5.3 billion.

Government Cost Savings Task Force Report for FY2013-14

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.
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