Bees, Please Don't Buzz Off

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
Honey bees enable the production of more than 90 commercially grown crops here in the United States. Around the world, more than one-third of food production relies on pollination, which is important to understand because, over the past 60 years, the number of honey bee colonies in the United States has decreased steadily.

Ideas in Action - Strategic Planning for State Agencies

/ Categories: Research, Guest Columns
Every year, Florida public agencies are required to develop so-called strategic plans. But instead of being strategic and linking to adding measurable value to Floridians, these efforts shift to the planning of tactics and assume that existing agency goals are useful or even correct. And each year we are often disappointed with what our agencies deliver to our citizens. This disappointment comes from agencies not asking and answering the right questions.

Budget Watch - Projected Shortfall Requires Action

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings, Taxpayer Guide
The 2017 Legislature will be facing a very tight budget year. After a string of three straight years with projected budget surpluses ranging from $336 million to $846 million, it is now estimated that during the next legislative session there will be just enough money to fund a continuation budget for FY2017-18. What’s more, significant budget shortfalls loom in subsequent years.

Florida is Still a Donor State

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Local Government
Over the years, Florida TaxWatch has produced several reports examining how Florida fares, relative to other states, in receiving grants and aid from the federal government. Consistent with our past research, this new analysis shows Florida continues to receive far less than its fair share of federal grant dollars.

Discretion on the Bench

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
This report recommends the implementation of a “Judicial Safety Valve” that would give judges the discretion to deviate from mandatory minimums for low-level offenders, but maintain the rights of victims, offenders, their attorneys, and the state to have input on sentencing decisions at sentencing hearings.

Pay for Performance Contracting

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
State contracts typically referred to as either performance-based contracting or pay for performance (PFP) are specially formulated so that contracted entities are paid for the outcomes or results of their work, and not just the services that are provided.

Juvenile Pre-Arrest Diversion

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial
This briefing explores Juvenile Pre-Arrest Diversion programs, which re-route certain juvenile offenders in ways that hold them accountable while sparing them from an arrest record and lessening the burden on taxpayers.

Budget Watch - Budget Outlook for FY2017-18 Getting Tighter

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps
Just as they did at their last conference in January, Florida’s revenue estimators reduced the state’s General Revenue (GR) projections. The GR Estimating Conference met on August 15, 2016 and reduced expected collections by $131.9 million in the current year (FY2016-17) and by $131.1 million for the next budget year (FY2017-18).

2016 Voter Guide - August

/ Categories: Research, Taxpayer Guide, Voter Guides

On August 30 and November 8, 2016, Floridians will vote on a total of five 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.

Locked Up then Locked Out

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
To decrease recidivism and increase the return on state investment in corrections, offenders need to be able to find jobs and keep them; however, there are several barriers to this goal. This paper addresses some of these barriers and makes policy recommendations.

2015-16 Government Efficiency Task Force Report

/ Categories: Research, Cost Savings

Pursuant to Article III, section 19(i) of the Florida Constitution, the Government Efficiency Task Force (“Task Force”) is pleased to submit its final recommendations to the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Legislative Budget Commission. The enclosed report includes 29 recommendations which, if implemented, will significantly improve the efficiency of government operations and will reduce the costs of government by more than $2 billion annually.

Budget Watch - Budget Process Underway for FY2017-18

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps
The FY2017-18 budget process is now underway. The Governor’s office recently provided budget instructions to state agencies to use in formulating their legislative budget requests (LBRs), which are due on October 14. The Governor will then use the LBRs to develop his budget recommendations, which must be provided to the Legislature at least 30 days before the start (March 7) of the 2017 Legislative Session.

The Impact of a $15/hr Minimum Wage

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
In states across the nation, minimum wage policies continue to dominate political and economic discussions. Recently, two of the nation’s largest states, New York and California, have both passed laws that will gradually raise the minimum wage in those states to $15/hr. This report examines the potential impact of an abrupt raise of Florida's minimum wage to $15/hr.

Lower Costs & Less Crime

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
Florida can no longer rely on the outdated and inefficient policies of the past, and must begin to consider policies and practices that not only keep Floridians safe, but also address the two primary drivers of growth in the criminal justice system: overincarceration and recidivism. The recommendations detailed in this report, while by no means an exhaustive list of necessary improvements, aim to put Florida on the path to achieve these goals.
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