On the precipice of college football kickoff, this report highlights the economic benefits of Florida's seven Division I NCAA football teams, and explains how football programs increase revenue for schools and the state as a whole.
When the 2015 Legislature convenes in Tallahassee, it is expected to have nearly $30 billion in General Revenue to create the state budget for FY 2015-16. However, after this month's GR Estimating Conference, the new General Revenue projection is $141.6 million less than previously thought.
From August 1-3, Floridians will save nearly $40 million in taxes while they shop tax-free for back-to-school supplies. Florida families can purchase clothing, school supplies, and even computers up to $750 tax-free. This infographic shows the estimated savings for taxpayers over the history of this annual tax holiday.
All the bills passed by the 2014 Legislature have now been evaluated by the state's revenue estimators, resulting in a revenue reduction of more than $550 in the current fiscal year. Local revenues will be reduced by $41.5 million and $37.0 million. Despite the declining revenue estimates, the reduction still leaves $1.65 billion in general revenue reserves for the fiscal year, according to the July Budget Watch.
This years Budget Turkey Report finds $120 million in projects slipped into the budget without a full and transparent review.
The 2014 Session has come to a close, and this Florida TaxWatch report details all of the issues that we followed this year.
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.
This BudgetWatch report compares the FY2014-15 House and Senate budgets in each spending area, and shows the change versus the current fiscal year.
Florida TaxWatch commends the Legislature for passing and Governor Scott for signing the first tax relief bill of the 2014 Legislative Session to reduce vehicle registration fees for all Floridians. This good bill will put up to $25 back in the pockets of each Florida driver and is a great way to make sure all Floridians benefit from broad tax relief. As a part of Governor Scotts "Its Your Money Tax Cut" that has been wisely embraced by the Legislature, reducing these vehicle registration fees will save Floridians $394.5 million annually.
The competing House and Senate tax cut proposals have many differences that need to be worked out, but there are beneficial provisions in both plans, according to this report, which compares the three proposals suggested by the Florida House, Senate and Governor Rick Scott to provide $500 million in tax cuts during the 2014 Legislative Session.
Since voters approved a 2002 Constitutional Amendment to reduce class sizes, taxpayers have spent more than $27 billion (including capital facilties and operating costs) to comply with the law, despite research that shows smaller class sizes do not result in higher achievement levels for students in grades 4-12. According to this report, changing the calculations for determining class size restrictions would better serve students and could save taxpayers $10 billion over ten years.
In the second yearly installment of the TaxWatch look at the issue of Trust Fund sweeps, this report looks at two consecutive years of sweeps from various funds, and recommends a separate bill for each desired sweep by the Legislature.
Florida's Assistant State Attorneys and Assistant Public Defenders are significantly undercompensated, as shown in findings from this research report. The new report analyzes Assistant State Attorney and Assistant Public Defender pay across each of Florida's judicial circuits and finds that their low pay contributes to high turnover rates, causing delays in judicial processing and increased taxpayer investment in new employee training, costing taxpayers more than $15 million annually.
Already enjoying what is called a more than $1 billion budget surplus to appropriate during the 2014 Legislative Session, lawmakers were given another $150 million by the latest General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference. This Budget Watch report for this coming fiscal year examines the latest round of estimating conferences by state economists and recommends that the Legislature still consider this a tight budget year and continue to implement cost-saving reforms such as those identified by the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency.
A new honeybee research facility could make Florida a global leader in agricultural research and is estimated to return more than $1 million in state tax revenue to Florida. The proposed facility, to be established at the University of Florida, would attract research revenue as well as help recruit and retain top researchers and students.
The fiscal condition of Florida's state government is in good shape as evidenced by a new study that ranks the state sixth overall in the nation, though there are some limitations with the reports findings, according to this analysis by Florida TaxWatch.
Florida must have an integrated Information Technology (IT) Governance model to improve IT services and reduce costs, according to this Report. The Report analyzes Florida's needs and options and finds that a federated governance structure will reduce duplicative IT investments and allow the state to allocate resources more efficiently.
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.
According to this Report, expanding reentry programs in Florida could prevent inmates from returning to state correctional facilities and reduce costs for taxpayers.
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.
Florida is neglecting millions of dollars in federal tax incentives, according to this Briefing. Federal legislation allows for tax deductions to offset the cost of energy efficient new buildings or building renovations, which result in added value to the state. TaxWatch recommends the state identify public buildings that could receive the tax deduction.
The federal government shutdown is negatively affecting tax revenues and capital investment in Florida, according to this report, which outlines the potential impacts an extended shutdown would have on Florida's economy.
The Legislative Budget Commission has adopted the Long-Range Financial Outlook, which contains an expected budget surplus of $846 million for FY 2014-15. This marks the second year in a row that the Florida Legislature will likely have a surplus after funding the continuation budget.
This report illustrates the positive impact of business development and trade missions on Florida's economy, highlighting the opportunities the missions create for Florida businesses, and providing details on the countries that recent delegations have visited.
UPDATED: With Vetoes
The 2013 Florida TaxWatch Turkey Watch Report identifies $106.8 million in Budget Turkeys. This annual Report identifies appropriations that appear in the budget at the last minute, bypassing the legislatively-established competitive process and receiving little or no public review. This years Report highlights 107 projects that deserve extra consideration for veto by the Governor.