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. 

How Florida Compares: Taxes 2022

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide

The annual Florida TaxWatch How Florida Compares: Taxes report ranks Florida’s state and local taxes against those levied around the nation. The nearly 40 tables, charts, and graphs in this report provide comprehensive information on state and local tax rates, tax collections, and other government revenues for all 50 states, and historical information for Florida.

IDEAS IN ACTION – Be Prepared: Water Quality and Climate Change in Florida

Guest Column By Josiah Neeley

/ Categories: Research, Blog

It’s no secret that climate change poses acute risks and costs for Florida. With its extended coastline and geographic position, the state has always been vulnerable
to damage from hurricanes, flooding and sea level rise. While some of the consequences of climate change have been widely circulated in the media and politics, other serious risks have received comparatively less attention. In particular, the risks that rising sea levels and increased flooding pose to Florida’s drinking water supply and to its water infrastructure deserve greater consideration.

Producing More Talent

MakeMore Manufacturing Summit – 2022 Summary Report

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Manufacturing, Workforce Development

FloridaMakes is the manufacturing extension partnership for the state of Florida. FloridaMakes is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and delivers business growth, talent development, and technology adoption services to manufacturers through regional manufacturers’ associations.

Florida Voters Continue to Say Yes to Proposed Tax Increases

Voters approve $2.2 billion in tax referenda and $1.4 in bond issues in 2021 and 2022

/ Categories: Research, Taxes

At the state level, taxpayers in Florida have enjoyed tax cuts passed by the Legislature every year since 2009.  However, at the local level, Florida voters continue to vote to significantly increase the taxes they pay.  A 2021 Florida TaxWatch report discovered that since 2010, Floridians voted to increase their own taxes 142 times. This includes voting to extend existing expiring tax levies.

 

The Importance of Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) Grants

/ Categories: Research, Education

Florida’s Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) grants provide modest tuition equalization to reduce the difference between public and private tuition; make private institutions more affordable to Florida residents; fuel enrollment growth; increase retention and degree completions in Florida; and reduce the tax burden on Florida taxpayers.

Instructional Expenses: Prek-12 Education Spending

/ Categories: Research, Education, Blog

Where and how well our school districts spend our education dollars can have a profound impact on student academic achievement and success. Historically, education makes up about one-fourth of Florida’s total budget. Florida TaxWatch believes that shifting education spending away from administrative and other expenses and toward classroom/instructional expenses is beneficial.

Using Public-Private Partnerships and Public-Public Partnerships to Meet the Growing Demands for Public Infrastructure

The gap between Florida’s infrastructure needs and what Florida currently has is nearly $2.59 trillion over ten years. By year 2039, a continued underinvestment in Florida’s infrastructure at current rates will have serious economic consequences — $10 trillion in lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than 3 million lost jobs, and $2.4 trillion in lost exports. Two creative solutions are public-private partnerships (PPPs) and public-public partnerships (PUPs). Why then, are there not more PPPs and PUPs? 

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools: SMART Program Quarterly Report

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC

The Broward County Public Schools’ Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter that Ended September 30, 2022 (“District Quarterly 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 and security, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.

2022 Annual Report

/ Categories: Research, Annual Reports

It is the mission of Florida TaxWatch to provide the taxpayers of Florida and public officials with high-quality, independent research and analysis of issues related to state and local government taxation, expenditures, policies, and programs. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on residents and businesses.

What’s Next: Hurricane Ian Recovery

/ Categories: Research, Hurricane Ian, Blog

On October 26, 2022, Florida TaxWatch hosted a discussion of subject matter experts to gain insight as to how Florida will overcome the impacts of Hurricane Ian as residents rebuild their homes, infrastructure, businesses, and finances. The discussion highlighted actions already taken to support residents, as well as challenges left for Florida to resolve. The Florida TaxWatch team was joined by Eve Rainey, the Executive Director of the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association; Kari Hebrank, Senior Governmental Consultant with Carlton Fields; and Fred E. Karlinsky, co-chair of the Insurance and Regulatory Transaction Practice at Greenberg Traurig. The discussion was moderated by Florida TaxWatch Senior Vice President of Research Bob Nave.

A Key to Overcoming Disasters: Complete Census Data Reinforces Resiliency

/ Categories: Research, Census, Economic Development, Hurricane Ian

Florida beaches are a treasure to the state, and as such, many residents strive to remain in close proximity to the shoreline. Statewide, 64.2 percent of employment and 79.2 percent of businesses are found within Florida’s 35 coastal counties.1 Unfortunately, the luring lifestyle of beaches comes at a cost; the homes and livelihoods of most Floridians are tied to areas susceptible to hurricane havoc.

Budget Watch – How Will the 2023 Legislature Handle a Record $13.5 Billion Budget Surplus?

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

As Florida TaxWatch has been detailing in our Budget Watch series,1 the state’s fiscal circumstances have been steadily improving since the initial shock (and resultant revenue loss) at the beginning of the pandemic. Even with historic state spending and tax cuts over the last two budgets, record reserves still exist. Florida’s tax system continues to produce revenue at a breakneck pace, with actual collections beating the estimate in each month over the last two year. Lately, the magnitude of the overage has been staggering. In the last three months of FY2021-22 (April-June), collections exceeded estimates by $2.545 billion (23.9 percent).

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

SMART Program Quarterly Report Review for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2022

/ Categories: Research, Education, Broward BOC

The Broward County Public Schools’ Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2022 (“District Quarterly 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 and security, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.

A Comprehensive Guide to Florida's 2022 Constitutional Amendments

/ Categories: Research, Taxpayer Guide, Voter Guides

On November 8, 2022, Floridians will vote on three legislatively referred proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. At least 60 percent of the voters must vote in the affirmative for a proposed amendment to pass. This Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide is designed to provide Florida voters with information about each of the proposed amendments to help them cast well-informed votes.

Demographic Data for Businesses and the Census

/ Categories: Research, Census, Blog

On Wednesday, August 31, Florida TaxWatch hosted a webinar “Demographic Data for Businesses & the Census” to discuss Florida’s population undercount in the 2020 Census, the impact this has on the business community, and efforts to secure more accurate data. During our webinar, we were joined by Mary Jo Hoeksema, Co-director of the Census Project; Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Founder and Director of Census Legacies; Susan Racher, Vice President and CFO of Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; and Ashley Dietz, President and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network.

IDEAS IN ACTION—It is Well Past Time to Modernize Florida's Baker & Marchman Acts

Guest Column by State Representative Patt Maney

/ Categories: Research, Blog

Patt Maney is a retired brigadier general and former county court judge who has represented District 4 (Part of Okaloosa) in the Florida House of Representatives since 2020. Reforming Florida’s civil commitment laws was one of his primary motivators for seeking legislative office because as a judge, he presided over Baker Act hearings and witnessed the law’s various shortcomings.

Building a Culture of Success: What Effective Principals Do

The 2022 Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Awards Roundtable Discussion Summary and Findings

/ Categories: Research, Education

Among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school, leadership is perhaps second only to classroom instruction. Furthermore, the impact of leadership tends to be the greatest in schools where the learning needs of students are most acute.

Florida Workforce Update

/ Categories: Research

A robust economy is a staple for securing high tax revenue and boosting the well-being of taxpayers. Although Florida’s economy enjoys a strong rebound with historically low unemployment, the dynamic of its workforce has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, shuffling where opportunities lie and surfacing new challenges.

How the Stop WOKE Act Will Impact Florida's Employers

/ Categories: Research, Blog

On Wednesday, August 17, Florida TaxWatch and the Gunster law firm co-hosted a webinar designed to help Florida businesses better understand and comply with the requirements of the Individual Freedom Act (also known as the “Stop WOKE” Act) passed by the 2022 Florida Legislature. Florida TaxWatch is grateful to Holly Goodman and Joseph Santoro of the Gunster law firm for sharing their insights on the effects of this controversial legislation on Florida businesses. Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present the following summary of the webinar.

FY2021-22 Revenue Collections Beat Estimate by $3.8 Billion

New General Revenue Estimates Add Another $5.3 Billion to Amount Available for the Next Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on August 16, 2022, to develop the state’s new forecast for general revenue (GR) collections. After the close of FY2021-22, which wildly exceed revenue expectations, the REC increased the estimates for FY2022-23 and 2023-24 by a total of $5.3 billion.

ARE BIG PROPERTY VALUE INCREASES GOING TO MEAN BIG TAX INCREASES?

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps

Florida’s housing market is raging, with growth in property values not seen since the housing bubble. Property appraisers certified the state’s taxable value for 2022 on July 1 and these values are currently being used by local governments and school districts in setting new property tax rates and developing budgets for FY 2022-23. The growth in property values has set the stage for what could be significant tax increases for Florida’s citizens and businesses.

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