It is the mission of Florida TaxWatch to provide the taxpayers of Florida and public officials with high-quality, independent research and analysis of issues related to state and local government taxation, expenditures, policies, and programs. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on residents and businesses.
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.
Florida beaches are a treasure to the state, and as such, many residents strive to remain in close proximity to the shoreline. Statewide, 64.2 percent of employment and 79.2 percent of businesses are found within Florida’s 35 coastal counties.1 Unfortunately, the luring lifestyle of beaches comes at a cost; the homes and livelihoods of most Floridians are tied to areas susceptible to hurricane havoc.
As Florida TaxWatch has been detailing in our Budget Watch series,1 the state’s fiscal circumstances have been steadily improving since the initial shock (and resultant revenue loss) at the beginning of the pandemic. Even with historic state spending and tax cuts over the last two budgets, record reserves still exist. Florida’s tax system continues to produce revenue at a breakneck pace, with actual collections beating the estimate in each month over the last two year. Lately, the magnitude of the overage has been staggering. In the last three months of FY2021-22 (April-June), collections exceeded estimates by $2.545 billion (23.9 percent).
SMART Program Quarterly Report Review for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2022
The Broward County Public Schools’ Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2022 (“District Quarterly Report”) provides updated information on the implementation of the District’s SMART Program and the use of general obligation bond funds to purchase and install technology upgrades, purchase music and arts equipment, improve school safety and security, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.
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.
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.
Guest Column by State Representative Patt Maney
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.
The 2022 Florida TaxWatch Principal Leadership Awards Roundtable Discussion Summary and Findings
Among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school, leadership is perhaps second only to classroom instruction. Furthermore, the impact of leadership tends to be the greatest in schools where the learning needs of students are most acute.
A robust economy is a staple for securing high tax revenue and boosting the well-being of taxpayers. Although Florida’s economy enjoys a strong rebound with historically low unemployment, the dynamic of its workforce has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, shuffling where opportunities lie and surfacing new challenges.