Vote NO on Amendment 1

Proposed Homestead Exemption Benefits Relatively Few Floridians and Will Likely Increase Taxes on Everyone Else

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide, Voter Guides

Floridians will be voting on as many as 13 state constitutional amendments on November 6, 2018. The first on the list, Amendment 1 (A1), would create a new $25,000 homestead exemption from property taxes.

Budget Watch - GR Estimates Down $32.6 Million

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

Florida’s General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference met on August 16 and forecast that the state would collect $13.1 million less than expected in FY2018-19 and $19.5 million less in FY2019-20. This reduces the estimated GR that the Legislature will have for the next state budget by $32.6 million, a change of less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

Budget Watch - Actual GR Collections in 2017-18 Exceed Estimates

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

Actual net GR collections for the fiscal year that that just ended exceeded the last estimate (February 2018, adjusted for legislative changes) by $205.2 million (0.66 percent). This will be added to the unobligated FY2018-19 GR (cash reserve) balance of $1.026 billion to be carried forward to the next budget year (FY2019-20). These numbers, along with the current cycle of the state’s Estimating Conferences, can begin to define the fiscal outlook for the next state budget that will be developed by the 2019 Legislature.

Budget Watch - The Whole Story of State Spending

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps
The 2018 Legislature passed a $88.727 billion state budget—the General Appropriations Act (GAA)—which recently took effect on July 1. But that doesn’t tell the whole story of what was spent by lawmakers last session. While the GAA price tag gets all the publicity, other appropriations can go largely unnoticed.

2018 Education Leadership Roundtable Summary Report

/ Categories: Research, Education
In April 2018, TaxWatch convened a 90-minute education roundtable in Orlando to discuss ways to improve the overall quality of pre-K–12 education by improving the leadership qualities of our public school principals. Joining the nine current PLA-winning principals were three former PLA-winning principals, the Chair of the State Board of Education, one current and one former member of the Florida House of Representatives, and a number of business and community leaders from across the state.

Workforce Development in Florida: A Literature Review

/ Categories: Research, Education
Designing effective workforce development policy requires drawing on the wealth of knowledge provided by academic and scientific research; the purpose of this paper is to stitch the relevant literature together so as to develop a comprehensive approach to workforce development.

TaxWatch Analysis of Amendment 2

In November 2018, Florida voters have a chance avoid a major property tax increase on owners of commercial or rental property, vacation or second homes, unimproved real estate, or any other non- homestead property. This tax increase will happen if the current 10 percent cap on non-homestead property assessments—scheduled to be repealed—is not reauthorized by the voters.

2018 Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide
Saturday, April 14, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2018. On that day, Floridians are finally earning money for themselves–not for the tax collector. This symbolic date assumes that every dollar earned since January 1 goes to pay federal, state, and local tax obligations.

Evaluating Hospice Certificate of Need (CON) in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

In Florida, the expansion of hospice programs and other health care facilities and services is guided by the “Certificate of Need” (“CON”) process. Since the CON approval requires that providers enroll all eligible individuals seeking care within their assigned service area, hospices in Florida see relatively high utilization rates. In this report,  Florida TaxWatch recommends the CON process be retained, and that hospice regulators continue to identify ways that Florida hospice providers can better control hospice costs, improve the quality of hospice care, and direct investments into medically-needy areas.

2018 Budget Turkey Watch

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
The $88.7 billion budget passed by the Florida House and Senate for FY2018-19 contains 87 appropriations items qualifying as Budget Turkeys worth $147.5 million. Since projects were not added to the budget during conference this year, most of these were flagged because they circumvented established selection processes. This includes 56 local transportation projects worth nearly $120 million. These member projects, for which there is no formal evaluation and selection process, bypass the transportation planning process, potentially diverting funds from projects that are in the DOT work program.

Assessing CRC Proposal 88

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Insurance, Taxpayer Guide
The Constitution Revision Commission is considering a proposal (P88) that, if approved by the voters, would create a new section in the Constitution to establish a “bill of rights” that expands litigation for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida. Florida TaxWatch has undertaken an analysis of P88 to guide Commission members in their deliberations regarding P88 and its committee substitute (CS/P88), and to educate the voters should the Commission recommend CS/P88 be placed on the ballot for the November 2018 General Election.

Comparing the 2018 House and Senate Tax Packages

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide
The House unveiled its 2018 tax cut package (HB 7087) almost a month ago, while the Senate’s did not appear until week 8 of the session when it was amended onto SB 620 in the Appropriations Committee. The bills have a lot of similarities, but there are big differences that will have to be negotiated before a final tax cut package is approved.

2018 House Proposed Tax Package

/ Categories: Research, Taxes
On February 14, 2018, the House Ways & Means Committee unveiled and passed its proposed tax cut package. The bill contains numerous tax relief provisions, covering sales taxes, property taxes, corporate income taxes, documentary stamp taxes and traffic fines. Several temporary exemptions to provide tax relief for agriculture and homeowners impacted by hurricanes are included.

Budget Watch - More Revenue for the Next Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings, Taxpayer Guide
As the Florida Legislature prepares to go into conference budget negotiations to finalize the FY2018-19 budget, state estimators gave lawmakers a bit of good news. Florida’s General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference met on February 9 and forecast that the state would collect an additional $461.8 million in FY2017-18 and FY2018-19.

2018 How Florida Counties Compare

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide

This publication compares the revenue and expenditure profiles of Florida’s 67 counties to give taxpayers an overview of how their local government stacks up with the rest of the state. The report presents the most recently available data regarding: property taxes, other taxes and fees, county and municipal revenues, county and municipal expenditures, and other related measures.

Derailing Brightline – The Cost of Taxpayer-Funded Lawsuits

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Transportation, Tourism, Local Government

When completed, the new Brightline train will pass through the Treasure Coast region of the state without any planned stops. This has prompted local governments in the Treasure Coast region to pursue legislative and legal remedies in an attempt to derail Brightline. This report looks at these actions, and whether they are in the taxpayers best interest.

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