Budget Watch - General Revenue Estimates Inject $842 Million Into The Next Budget Process

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

Less than a week after the Senate Appropriations Committee heard a gloomy presentation on the outlook for the upcoming budget, the General Revenue Estimating Conference met on December 18 and increased the revenue projections by $461.5 million in FY2018-19 and another $380.5 million in FY2019-20. This means the 2019 Legislature will have an estimated $842 million more in General Revenue (GR) collections for the next state budget than was previously expected.

2018 Voter Guide Wrap-Up: $1.5 Billion in Local Tax Referenda

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Voter Guides

On November 6, 2018, Floridians voted on 12 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. Eleven of the 12 passed with at least a 60 percent majority, all but Amendment 1, which would have provided an additional $25,000 homestead property tax exemption. But the amendments were not the only thing that voters had to agree on. In addition to the amendments, voters across Florida chose to put in place a number of local tax measures and new bond issues. 

Keeping Workers' Compensation Premiums Low Through Independent Medical Review

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care, Insurance, Cost Savings

In this research report, TaxWatch looks at the success of the IMR program in California in an attempt to answer the question “what if IMR was in use in Florida?” TaxWatch is pleased to present policymakers and stakeholders with an independent analysis of a program we think may be helpful in keeping the costs of workers’ compensation insurance down while helping to ensure that injured workers receive appropriate treatment.

Is the Sun Setting on Film in Florida?

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development

While the TaxWatch maintains that incentives should not be used as a substitute for the fundamentals of good economic growth, TaxWatch does recommend that incentives for the film and television industry not be ignored as a part of the Florida’s overall economic development strategy.

Governor's Transition Decision Handbook 2018-19

/ Categories: Research

The Handbook is, at its core, a compilation and translation of knowledge and experience from some of the people who have been through the extraordinary and unique endeavor which the new Governor is about to undertake, and a guide to the policy choices that will have to be made as the Governor of Florida.

Budget Watch - Outlook Assumes Legislature Will Sweep Trust Funds

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

Florida’s state forecasters estimate that the 2019 Legislature will have a $223.4 million budget surplus when it puts together the state’s new spending plan for FY 2019-20. However, this assumes the Legislature will transfer nearly $400 million from trust funds—money earmarked by law for specific uses—into the General Revenue (GR) Fund.

2018 Voter Guide

/ Categories: Research, Taxpayer Guide, Voter Guides

On November 6, 2018, Floridians will vote on 12 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. This Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide is designed to provide voters with information about each of the amendments to help them cast well-informed votes.

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.
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