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. 

A Comprehensive Guide to Florida's 2022 Constitutional Amendments

/ Categories: Research, Taxpayer Guide, Voter Guides

On November 8, 2022, Floridians will vote on three legislatively referred proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. At least 60 percent of the voters must vote in the affirmative for a proposed amendment to pass. This Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide is designed to provide Florida voters with information about each of the proposed amendments to help them cast well-informed votes.

Florida's FY2022-23 State Budget

Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2022-23 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2022. The report includes all appropriations for the new fiscal year— the General Appropriations Act (GAA), “back-of-bill” spending, and general bills—net of the Governor’s vetoes.

2022 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 2022 legislative session is over, even if it ran a little long. Florida TaxWatch and the state’s taxpayers had a number of successes. Many bills and budget issues supported by our research and recommendations passed. Our research and input that raised concerns with legislation, helped to improve them or fail passage, including changes to the tax audit system and a very costly approach to improving data privacy

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in Florida’s future

Here is what Florida TaxWatch thinks the Legislature should do.

/ Categories: Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Taxpayer Guide, In the News

The 2022 legislative session begins today and, despite the pandemic, Florida is in an enviable fiscal position. The state’s current budget is record in size, as are our budget reserves. Revenue collections are back above pre-pandemic levels, and this Legislature will have even more money available for the next budget cycle, made possible by both strong economic performance and billions in unappropriated federal funds.

Budget Watch - What a Difference a Year Makes

2022 Legislature Heads into Session with a $7 Billion Budget Surplus

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

Last year, COVID-19’s arrival in Florida and the attendant economic shutdown had state forecasters—and virtually everyone else--predicting gloomy fiscal times for Florida. The 2020 legislative Long-Range Financial Outlook estimated that the 2021 Legislature would be facing a budget shortfall of $2.7 billion, and without significant spending cuts, the shortfalls would continue for at least two more years.

2021 Budget Turkey Watch Report

An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

The 2021 Budget turkey Watch report: an analysis of the transparency and accountability of the Budget processis the result of an annual independent review of Florida’s FY2021-22 budget by Florida TaxWatch. Budget Turkeys are items, usually local member projects, placed in individual line-items or accompanying proviso language that are added to the final appropriations bill without being fully scrutinized and subjected to the budget process.

Taxpayer Independence Day

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide

On Friday, April 9, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2021. 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.

A Decade of Self-Taxing

Florida voters have approved $10.8 billion in local taxes & bond issues since 2010

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government, Taxpayer Guide

Florida has long relied on its local governments to fund a major portion of its government services. In fact, that reliance is heavier than in all but one other state. Florida’s counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts provide more than half (52.6 percent) of all state and local revenue collected in the state, trailing only New York (54.7 percent).1 Our state has consistently ranked first or second in this metric for many years.

2020 How Florida Compares: Taxes

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide

This report is part of our larger How Florida Compares series, which is intended to help Floridians better understand their state through data.  This report, like each report in this series, provides neutral, nonpartisan information on where Florida ranks compared to our 49 sister states and the national average.  

2020 Taxpayers Guide to the FY2020-21 Florida State Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

After deducting the Governor’s vetoes, the net result is FY2020-21 appropriations totaling $92.270 billion, still a $1.3 billion increase over the previous year. As is usually the case, it is the largest state budget in history. In addition to many facts and figures explaining this year’s budget, past data are also provided to put it in historical context. 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.

What’s In and What’s Out of the Final 2020 Tax Package

/ Categories: Research, E-Fairness, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

The 2020 tax package (HB 7097) was amended many times as it moved through the process. At first, it grew topping $230 million in tax savings at one point. Then, citing a need to keep more money in reserves for COVID-19 response, it started getting smaller. The following is a description of all the provisions that were in the many versions of HB 7097. This report starts with what’s in the final and follows with what dropped out along the way.

 

An Accurate Count in the 2020 Census is Vital for Florida

Billions of Dollars are at Stake

/ Categories: Research, Taxpayer Guide

Florida is now the third larg- est state in the nation with 21.5 million people and one of the fastest growing—adding 640 people a day. Florida has a his- tory of being undercounted in the census and an undercount in this census will negatively impact the state for another ten years.

2019 How Florida Counties Compare

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide

Local taxing and spending is a major part of Florida government operations. More than half of all Florida government revenue (53.1 percent) is raised at the local level, one of the highest shares in the nation. Florida’s 66 county governments (plus Jacksonville’s consolidated government), more than 400 municipal governments, and approximately 1,000 independent special districts spend nearly $80 billion annually. This report compares the magnitude and makeup of Florida’s local governments’ fiscal operations. It does not attempt to compare or evaluate levels of service. 

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.

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.
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