2013 Turkey Watch Report

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys, Taxes, Budget/Approps
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.

2013 Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide
Sunday, April 21, is Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2013, as estimated by Florida TaxWatch. 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.

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.

Putting the Trust Back in Trust Funds

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps
According to this Briefing, When the Legislature wants to sweep a trust fund, it should be required to introduce a separate general bill for each trust fund sweep. This would allow input from legislators and testimony from concerned parties, and require an up or down vote on each sweep.

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."

Modernizing the FRS: Switching to a Defined Contribution Plan

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Retirement
Due primarily to its substantial and unpredictable long-term costs, the Florida TaxWatch Government Cost Saving Task Force has made recommendations to reform the current Florida Retirement System (FRS) for the past several years. Given the complexity of this issue, this Report is a further expansion, clarification, and reinforcement of these recommendations.

Economic Commentary - Florida's 2012 Job Growth

/ Categories: Research, Taxes
This month's Economic Commentary focuses on job growth in Florida during 2012. The analysis shows that Florida has continued its recovery from its most recent recession, showing strong job creation in a significant number of sectors.

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.

2012 Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide
Friday, April 20, is Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2012, as estimated by Florida TaxWatch. 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.

Report and Recommendations of the Florida Tangible Personal Property Tax Task Force

/ Categories: Research, Taxes
The Tangible Personal Property Tax raises nearly $2 billion annually for state government but many believe its benefits are offset by the cost to Florida businesses and a lack of uniformity in its application to taxpayers across the state. This report recommends a constitutional amendment to give the Legislature flexibility in administering the tax.