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. 

American Community Survey Blog – January 2023

/ Categories: Research, Census, Blog

In December 2022, data for the American Community Survey 2017-2021 5-Year Estimates was released. On January 26th, the 5-Year Microdata and 1-Year Data Profiles will be available. An accurate decennial census count is important for community and business decision-making. The census count creates data estimates touching nearly every facet of a taxpayer’s life, ranging from average work commutes to how many people have access to broadband. While the census is the basis for such statistics, it is obvious that counting people cannot provide such in-depth knowledge alone. The census has a partner: the American Community Survey (ACS).

IDEAS IN ACTION – Be Prepared: Water Quality and Climate Change in Florida

Guest Column By Josiah Neeley

/ Categories: Research, Blog

It’s no secret that climate change poses acute risks and costs for Florida. With its extended coastline and geographic position, the state has always been vulnerable
to damage from hurricanes, flooding and sea level rise. While some of the consequences of climate change have been widely circulated in the media and politics, other serious risks have received comparatively less attention. In particular, the risks that rising sea levels and increased flooding pose to Florida’s drinking water supply and to its water infrastructure deserve greater consideration.

Instructional Expenses: Prek-12 Education Spending

/ Categories: Research, Education, Blog

Where and how well our school districts spend our education dollars can have a profound impact on student academic achievement and success. Historically, education makes up about one-fourth of Florida’s total budget. Florida TaxWatch believes that shifting education spending away from administrative and other expenses and toward classroom/instructional expenses is beneficial.

What’s Next: Hurricane Ian Recovery

/ Categories: Research, Hurricane Ian, Blog

On October 26, 2022, Florida TaxWatch hosted a discussion of subject matter experts to gain insight as to how Florida will overcome the impacts of Hurricane Ian as residents rebuild their homes, infrastructure, businesses, and finances. The discussion highlighted actions already taken to support residents, as well as challenges left for Florida to resolve. The Florida TaxWatch team was joined by Eve Rainey, the Executive Director of the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association; Kari Hebrank, Senior Governmental Consultant with Carlton Fields; and Fred E. Karlinsky, co-chair of the Insurance and Regulatory Transaction Practice at Greenberg Traurig. The discussion was moderated by Florida TaxWatch Senior Vice President of Research Bob Nave.

Demographic Data for Businesses and the Census

/ Categories: Research, Census, Blog

On Wednesday, August 31, Florida TaxWatch hosted a webinar “Demographic Data for Businesses & the Census” to discuss Florida’s population undercount in the 2020 Census, the impact this has on the business community, and efforts to secure more accurate data. During our webinar, we were joined by Mary Jo Hoeksema, Co-director of the Census Project; Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Founder and Director of Census Legacies; Susan Racher, Vice President and CFO of Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; and Ashley Dietz, President and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network.

IDEAS IN ACTION—It is Well Past Time to Modernize Florida's Baker & Marchman Acts

Guest Column by State Representative Patt Maney

/ Categories: Research, Blog

Patt Maney is a retired brigadier general and former county court judge who has represented District 4 (Part of Okaloosa) in the Florida House of Representatives since 2020. Reforming Florida’s civil commitment laws was one of his primary motivators for seeking legislative office because as a judge, he presided over Baker Act hearings and witnessed the law’s various shortcomings.

How the Stop WOKE Act Will Impact Florida's Employers

/ Categories: Research, Blog

On Wednesday, August 17, Florida TaxWatch and the Gunster law firm co-hosted a webinar designed to help Florida businesses better understand and comply with the requirements of the Individual Freedom Act (also known as the “Stop WOKE” Act) passed by the 2022 Florida Legislature. Florida TaxWatch is grateful to Holly Goodman and Joseph Santoro of the Gunster law firm for sharing their insights on the effects of this controversial legislation on Florida businesses. Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present the following summary of the webinar.

IDEAS IN ACTION—Achieving Food Security for All Floridians Requires a Year-Round Commitment

/ Categories: Research, Guest Columns, Blog

When the pandemic began the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended free meals to school-age children all year long, including the summer months. The program will no longer be available at the end of this school year and many food insecure families are now facing a summer without school food assistance programs. The situation is made even more dire as inflation and the cost-of-living soars, leaving millions of individuals and families in critical need of year-round nutritional assistance. 

Breakfast Briefing on Property Insurance- A Special Session Primer

/ Categories: Research, Insurance, Blog

Florida is facing a property insurance crisis and the governor has called the legislature back to Tallahassee, May 23-27, to tackle the issue.  While the proposed bills to be discussed have not been filed yet, the Governor’s proclamation announcing the special session suggests areas that should be addressed, including reinsurance, building codes, litigation reform, and Citizens Property Insurance. Why is this such a pressing issue? 

“Why Human Trafficking Is More Than Just A Moral Issue.”

/ Categories: Research, Blog

January 2022 marked the 12th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Month. A recognized memorial since 2010, the designation seeks to raise human trafficking awareness and educate the public about the crime’s heinous impact on millions of people across the world. Given the criminal enterprise nature of human trafficking, there is also an inherent economic cost to communities and the state of Florida when exploitation prevents victims from leading dignified, generative lives. What are the costs and implications of human trafficking in Florida?

What Benefits Cliffs Teach Us About Incentives

A Case Study on Florida Children’s Health Insurance

/ Categories: Blog

Throughout the U.S. and in Florida, a variety of federal and state public programs exist to provide economic stabilization and promote economic self-sufficiency for low-income individuals and families with children. These public supports are often designed with specific income eligibility limits so that benefits phase out as an individual or family earns more. Although constructed to reduce reliance on public assistance over time while empowering families to move up the economic ladder, this program design can sometimes have the unintentional consequence of creating a “benefits cliff” that stifles upward mobility.

WORKING PAPER: Where Are The Women?

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Blog

This working paper is an endeavor to learn more about Florida’s labor force participation rate of women. Exploring reasons for women’s absence from the workforce can help Florida better understand the needs of its entire workforce. As a working paper, Florida TaxWatch hopes to start a discussion and encourage others to offer their insights about women’s absence from the workforce.

 

Despite Positive Job Growth In Recent Months, People Are Quitting Jobs At Record Rates

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Blog

Often overlooked in favor of more eye-catching employment headlines such as unemployment rates and job creation numbers, job quitting rates are an indispensable part of understanding the overall economic recovery. Newly released national data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal the number of people quitting their jobs in November 2021 hit a record high of 4.5 million—far above any other level on record since data first started being recorded. Since the summer of 2021, a collective 21.3 million individuals have quit their jobs across the nation.

Debate in Public Schools

A Florida TaxWatch Commentary by Bob Nave (Vice President of Research)

/ Categories: Research, Education, Blog

 How can scholastic debate and the business community work together to drive Florida's students forward? One option is to look at existing programs, like the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Debate Initiative, which now boasts approximately 15,000 students in every high school and learning center, every middle school, and in more than 100 elementary schools. The Initiative is a partnership between BCPS and local businesses, whose sponsorships and donations are critical in supporting debate opportunities for BCPS students.

The 2021 B-T-S Sales Tax Holiday is here

/ Categories: Blog

Folks, the school year is right upon us. We are all about to get back into bus stop routines, bus stop traffic, haircuts, new shoes, and the ubiquitous school supplies. Luckily, thanks to a now-routine annual ritual, next week starts 10 days of many of those things being exempt from sales taxes. 

Did Florida Undercount in the 2020 Census, Potentially Missing Out on Federal Dollars?

/ Categories: Blog

The 2020 Census is finally over, capping off a historic effort to accurately count every person in the United States during a pandemic. A few interesting stories emerge from the latest enumeration of the nation, such as the growing population shift to the South and New York losing a congressional House seat by only 89 people. Although Florida was one of the so-called “winners” in the current census because it secured an additional seat in Congress, the result was not as spectacular as expected.

What is Inflation and How Does it Affect Taxpayers?

/ Categories: Blog

To many people, the word “inflation” conjures up distant memories to some obscure high school economics class rather than offer some deep insight into the inter-workings of the economy. The topic appears mysterious in nature (understandably so), known by few outside of economics circles. Read more.

What is a K-Shaped Recovery and Why It Matters

/ Categories: COVID Recovery, Blog

As the federal government continues to negotiate another round of fiscal stimulus, chances are you have heard the term “K-shaped recovery” thrown around. The issue became a common talking point during last year’s presidential election as some candidates discussed their plans to heal the economy. But what exactly is a K-shaped recovery and what does it have to do with the economy?

Time Delays and Lack of Guidance Complicating Local CARES Act Relief

/ Categories: Blog

When the history of the COVID-19 pandemic is ultimately written, there will likely be a chapter addressing how the impact of a well-intentioned federal relief package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was somewhat hobbled by its roll-out and the ultimate disbursement of public assistance.

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