The TaxWatch Research Blog

The TaxWatch Research Blog is a forum where our research staff can address topics and issues in a short format. Keep an eye on this space during Legislative Session for frequent posts making sense of the activity at the Capitol. 

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Budget Watch - More GR Available for Next Budget Thanks to Seminole Gaming Settlement

A weaker than expected economic forecast will dampen growth in Florida’s General Revenue (GR) tax collections, especially for the state’s biggest money-maker—the sales tax. e good news is, revenue from the gaming agreement that was reached in July between the state and the Seminole Tribe will more than offset that loss.

Buoyed by the Indian Gaming revenue, the General Revenue Estimating Conference’s new forecast increased expected collections by $132.2 million in FY2017-18 and by $188.1 million in FY2018-19. That will provide the 2018 Legislature with $320.3 million more in GR for the next state budget than was estimated last March (adjusted for actions of the 2017 Legislature).

The state’s estimators recently scaled back expectations for the economy, both in Florida and the nation. This resulted in estimated sales tax collections being revised downward by $291.9 million over the two- year period. The most significant increase among other tax sources was an $155.6 million revision in corporate income tax collections due to higher-than-expected corporate profits. The Insurance Premium Tax estimate was were also increased by $66.4 million. Changes in the estimates for most of the other sources were minor. In fact, excluding Indian Gaming revenue shows that the estimates for all other GR sources were revised downward by $3.6 million.

The gaming agreement will provide $550.7 million in additional revenue to the state over the two-year period. This includes $323.9 million reflected in the increased estimates for FY2017-18 and FY2018-19, as well as $226.8 million that had been previously remitted by the Tribe and was being held in reserve pending an agreement. Add these reserve funds to the increased estimates and the 2018 Legislature will have $33.785 billion in GR available for the FY2018-19 budget, $547.1 million more than previously estimated.

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