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. 

The Rise of Commuter Rail in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
Commuter train projects in Florida have generated some economic activity and job growth in Central and South Florida, though major concerns exist for taxpayers around the state, according to this Economic Commentary. The report highlights Orlandos new SunRail project and South Florida's All Aboard Florida commuter rail line, expected to begin operating in 2016.

Commercializing Florida's Public Research

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Education
Florida's universities and research institutes are creating of some of the states most advanced technologies, but one Florida Institute is helping to bring them to the masses. The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, highlighted in this Economic Commentary, invests in developing companies using the latest products and processes invented at Florida's publicly-funded universities and research institutes.

Budget Watch - Latest Estimating Conferences

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Cost Savings
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.

Economic Impact Evaluation of a Proposed Honeybee Research and Extension Laboratory in Florida

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.

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.

Critical Connections to Care

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care
Statewide expansion of telemedicine could save Florida more than $1 billion annually, according to this TaxWatch report. The report highlights the importance of removing barriers and including incentives for encouraging the use of telemedicine through the creation of a solid policy foundation.

Florida's University Research Parks

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Education
Florida's nine university research parks help create high-wage jobs, diversify the state economy and ensure Florida retains top graduates, according to this month's Economic Commentary. The report highlights the importance of Florida's research parks to the creation and sustainability of STEM jobs in the state.

Florida's 2013 Job Growth

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
Florida's growing economy created an estimated 192,900 private sector jobs in 2013, according to this annual jobs report. The 2013 growth rates show Florida leading the nations high-population states with the largest per-capita increase in jobs. The state also saw the second-largest yearly percentage increase in non-farm employment in the nation with a 2.6 percent growth rate.

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.

Economic Commentary - Florida: The Fishing Capital of the World

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Tourism
According to this months Economic Commentary, in 2013, more than 1.2 million non-residents fished during a visit to Florida. In addition to attracting anglers from around the world to fish, Florida hosts boating and fishing expos throughout the year, drawing visitors and their tax dollars to the state economy. Florida's unique location and variety of fishing opportunities position the state as the world leader in sport fishing tourism.

Economic Commentary: Florida Businesses and Local Governments Invest In CNG

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
According to this Economic Commentary, Florida consumes more than 728 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually, 85 percent of which is used by electric utilities. Further, 59 of Florida's 67 counties have natural gas services available for industrial, commercial and residential use. While Floridians have taken advantage of the benefits of natural gas for electricity purposes, this alternative fuel may provide ample opportunities for both commercial and personal transportation developments.

Economic Commentary: Florida Companies Train the World

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
The latest Economic Commentary from Florida TaxWatch highlights Florida's successful Modeling, Simulation and Training (MS&T) sector. Simulation and training exercises replicate life-like situations in a controlled environment, which allows for substantial cost-savings especially important during government sequestration and private sector cutbacks.

Economic Commentary: Florida's Gulf Research Cooperation

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Energy/Environment, Transportation
For the past three years, 10 Florida universities and research institutions have been focused on researching the long-term effects of the BP oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico's marine life, environment, and public health. This month's Economic Commentary focuses on three Florida university-led entities' recent research findings and developments, and how these findings make our state stand out in the scientific arena.

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.
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