Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2015-16 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2015. We hope this annual budget pocket guide gives you the information you need to better understand where and how your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.
In the past 12 months, the Sunshine State has experienced a 3.4 percent increase in non-farm employment with positive gains month-to-month, and has seen a steady drop in its unemployment rate. This report looks at the numbers.
Ask most people which city in the U.S. is the largest, and you will likely hear New York, or Los Angeles, or one of the other “major” cities around the country. The truth, however, is that the largest city in the country is Jacksonville, Florida, at 874.6 square miles. While the size of Jacksonville may not be well known, even fewer may realize that the city is a rising star of startup activity and job creation.
Despite lawmakers' efforts to increase transparency while crafting the 2015-16 Florida state budget, 189 projects worth $167 million were inserted into the budget without sufficient public scrutiny, or circumventing established budget processes, and found their way to the Budget Turkey Watch list.
Lawmakers return to Tallahassee next week to finish budget negotiations, but will have to resolve more than differences in healthcare spending. The May edition of Budget Watch outlines the scope of the Special Session, noting that lawmakers will also consider conforming bills ranging from transportation networks to child welfare agencies.
Last year, Florida TaxWatch called for increased spending for public defenders and state attorneys to ensure justice is available for defendants and victims involved in Florida’s court system. The legislature heeded TaxWatch’s recommendation in the 2014 budget. This year, lawmakers should extend their commitment to funding the justice system to law enforcement by investing in the replacement of the state’s law enforcement radio system.
Florida's world-renowned, $10 billion citrus industry is an important sector of the state economy, providing thousands of jobs and capital to agricultural regions. As the nation's largest supplier of citrus, the success of this industry is vital to Florida's diversified economy.
A Central Florida technology research center could help launch the state's high-tech manufacturing industry and ignite economic growth. The development of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center through the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research will help create, develop and support high-tech Florida companies producing smart sensor technologies for high-tech manufacturing goods.
The annual TaxWatch Legislative Update recaps legislative action on TaxWatch priority issues.
Florida has always had the reputation of being a low tax state. While this common perception is borne out by the newest available data contained in this report, the full picture is more complicated. This report provides detailed tax ranking information for Florida as compared to the rest of the nation.
With Florida's crime rate at its lowest point in nearly five decades, this report recommends policy improvements to reduce cost and improve the efficacy of the criminal justice system. The data from the report show the contrast between Florida's falling crime rate and rising prison population.
There are so many words that I could use to detail the challenges facing the banking industry in Florida and throughout the country. But, sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words...
Limited health care resources combined with an increased demand for quality care in Florida has led to essential innovations in our current health care delivery system. Telemedicine is one such innovation that Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has implemented to expand access to care and extend the reach and impact of health care providers.
To bring attention to the current state of Florida’s infrastructure, and whether it can continue to meet the needs of both residents and visitors, this report looks at evaluations of the capacity of various components that support the tourism industry, including airports, roads, and cruise terminals.
Monday, April 20 Florida TaxWatch celebrates Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2015: the day Floridians are finally earning money for themselves and 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. In 2015, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 110 out of 365 days, or more than three and a half months.
Florida residents are keenly aware that tourism is an important economic engine providing power to the state economy, and several Florida TaxWatch publications provide economic data supporting this observation. Tourism is one of the top providers of jobs for Floridians and a serves as a major source of tax revenue for the state.
As Florida House and Senate leaders prepare to negotiate the differences in their budget proposals passed last week, one potential sticking point will be tax cut packages. The latest Florida TaxWatch Budget Watch outlines the tax cut options thus far.
The Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) was established in 1978 to provide competitively priced, reliable power and value-added services for its member municipalities. Concern over higher rates has caused some FMPA member municipalities to “break ranks” in pursuit of lower power rates. This report looks at the FMPA, and the oversight, or lack thereof, that currently exists.
A more than $4 billion dollar difference between the House and Senate budget proposals is detailed in this annual analysis of the initial budgets, which shows that the largest point of contention between the chambers is in funding the health and human services portion of the budget.
Florida delivers substance abuse and mental health services to the indigent and uninsured through a regional model managed by Behavioral Health Managing Entities (BHMEs). This report finds that this BHME model is a good behavioral healthcare system that provides a framework for future success.
The lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region, is an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean that devours native fish and competes for food with native predators, and represents a threat to several important industries in Florida, including sport and commercial fishing, and to the health of coral reefs and the biodiversity in our waters.
Easing the tax burden for Florida families and businesses would also attract business investment, create Florida jobs and grow the state's information-based economy, according to this report, which highlights the state's Communications Services Tax, the fourth highest in the nation.
This report, the third in a series, outlines options to reform Florida's class size limits that have cost taxpayers more than $30 billion since voters approved them in a 2002 constitutional amendment.
This Budget Watch analyzes Governor Scott's FY2015-16 budget recommendations.
This report highlights several often overlooked benefits to the program, including that it is one of the only economic development programs available to retailers and that companies in Enterprise Zones provided necessary services to their communities, such as access to food and medications.