Social Determinants of Health: Health Care Access and Quality

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care

This report examines the social determinants of health (SDOH), emphasizing that environmental and social factors primarily determine health outcomes. It identifies significant challenges in healthcare access due to high insurance costs and a substantial uninsured population, which rank Florida low nationally in healthcare access. Key issues include disparities in rural and low-income areas, and heavy reliance on emergency services by uninsured individuals, leading to significant economic burdens.

Recommendations include:

  1. Expanding Medicaid eligibility to improve access and reduce costs.
  2. Promoting telehealth services to bridge gaps in urban and rural care.
  3. Allowing greater autonomy for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to address physician shortages.
  4. Implementing new policies like the "Live Healthy Agenda" to enhance healthcare quality and access statewide.

The report calls for systemic changes to support a healthier, more economically stable Florida.

Principal Leadership Awards Roundtable Summary 2024

/ Categories: Research

The Principal Leadership Awards Roundtable Summary highlights the contributions of 15 outstanding principals who have significantly influenced student achievement under challenging conditions. This document explores effective strategies in teacher retention, school culture, and community engagement, drawn from a roundtable discussion of award-winning principals. It offers practical insights and research-backed recommendations to enhance educational outcomes. Educators and leaders are encouraged to access and utilize this report to foster educational excellence across Florida.

2024 Budget Turkey Watch Report

An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys

Florida TaxWatch is proud to present the 2024 Budget Turkey Watch Report, an annual independent review that has been a staple since 1983. This report scrutinizes the Florida FY2024-25 budget, identifying appropriations that bypass established legislative procedures. Known as Budget Turkeys, these appropriations often serve limited areas, are not core state functions, or circumvent competitive bidding and oversight.

Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2024

/ Categories: Research, Taxpayer Guide

In 2024, Floridians will spend an average of 107 days working to pay off their tax obligations. The state's total tax burden is estimated at $455 billion, with federal, state, and local taxes accounting for 71%, 15%, and 14%, respectively. Over the past decade, total taxes paid by Floridians have increased by 90%. Despite the challenges, Florida's state tax burden remains one of the lowest in the nation. Download the full report to learn more about the tax landscape in Florida.

“If You Build It, He Will Come”: Florida TaxWatch Looks At The Tampa Bay Rays’ Ballpark Proposal

/ Categories: Research, Local Government

This report analyzes the key aspects of the deal and identifies critical questions that local officials should consider before deciding whether the proposed ballpark is in the best interest of taxpayers.

The report does not draw conclusions on the merits of the deal but instead focuses on outlining the important factors that need to be weighed, such as the total public costs, the best use of public funds, and the fairness of the cost-sharing agreement. While the project is expected to generate significant economic impacts over 30 years, research shows that the benefits of publicly subsidized sports facilities are often overstated.

To learn more about this critical issue affecting the Tampa Bay region, download the full report for an in-depth, independent analysis.

2020 Census – How Florida Counties Compare

/ Categories: Research, Census

"2020 Census Participation: How Florida Counties Compare," provides valuable insights into census participation across the state in 2020 and emphasizes the importance of securing a complete count in the upcoming 2030 Census.

The report examines key metrics, highlights the costly impacts of undercounts, and outlines actionable steps businesses and individuals can take now to support a complete count.

With Census Day 2030 approaching, the time to prepare is now. Download the full report to learn more and discover how you can help ensure Florida receives its fair share of federal funding and representation.

2024 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 2024 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up offers a concise yet thorough review of the session's key outcomes. With a $117.5 billion budget, over $1 billion in tax relief, and nearly $10 billion in reserves, the Legislature addressed crucial issues in healthcare, education, insurance, and the environment. The report provides an insightful overview of the bills and budget items that passed, as well as notable legislation that failed to advance, making it an essential resource for understanding the current state of Florida policy and its implications for residents and taxpayers.

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools

Q2 (2023-2024)

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC

This report for the Broward Bond Oversight Committee offers an insightful overview of the SMART Program's achievements and challenges as it progresses into its tenth year. Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) remains committed to enhancing educational facilities, technology, safety, arts, and athletics through the strategic use of General Obligation Bond funds. Despite facing unforeseen challenges, the program is on track, with significant milestones reached in school safety enhancements and technology upgrades, ensuring an enriched learning environment for students. Financial oversight and community engagement are emphasized as key elements in maintaining transparency and accountability. As BCPS navigates through these complexities, the report underscores a collective effort towards fulfilling the promises made to the community, aiming for the complete execution of the SMART Program by October 31, 2025.

Session Summary: 2024 Taxpayer Roundup

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The Florida TaxWatch's 2024 Legislative Session Taxpayer Roundup report provides a comprehensive overview of significant tax legislation in Florida, highlighting nearly $1 billion in tax relief measures, including toll credits and potential property tax savings through a proposed constitutional amendment. Key successes include substantial tax cuts, sales tax holidays, and new tax credits aimed at supporting employment and child care.

Unleashing Digital Transformation: 2023 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit Summary Report

/ Categories: Research, Manufacturing

The 2023 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit Report delves into the significance of digital transformation in Florida's manufacturing sector. It provides a comprehensive overview of current challenges, opportunities, and advancements within the industry, with a particular focus on the adoption of new technologies for enhanced value and profitability. Tailored for policymakers, industry stakeholders, and interested parties, the report highlights the summit's collaborative efforts to drive economic growth and job creation in Florida. It serves as a crucial resource for understanding the future direction of manufacturing in the state and underscores the importance of innovation and technology in maintaining competitive edge and fostering a robust manufacturing ecosystem.

Every Child A Swimmer Update

/ Categories: Research

The "Every Child A Swimmer" report by Florida TaxWatch highlights the high rates of child drownings in Florida, emphasizing the need for widespread swimming education and water safety measures. It advocates for legislative support to enhance water safety and prevent such incidents, stressing their economic and emotional impact.

Florida’s Labor Market Continues Cooling Down at a Slow Rate

/ Categories: Research, Blog

This Florida TaxWatch blog examines labor market changes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on the U.S. and Florida. It notes a national slowdown in job openings, with a stable 3.7% unemployment rate, contrasting with Florida's lower 2.9% rate and job gains in most sectors. The data suggests a cooling labor market, but not enough to significantly impact inflation. Despite Federal Reserve efforts to slow the economy, there are still more jobs than unemployed persons nationally. Experts no longer anticipate a recession, but inflation concerns persist, especially if the Federal Reserve changes interest rates.

2024 Update: Long-Term Rental Markets In Florida

/ Categories: Research, Housing Affordability

This Florida TaxWatch commentary highlights the imbalance between the demand and supply of rental units in the state, leading to rising rental costs. The document notes significant increases in rental prices since the pandemic, with specific emphasis on metropolitan areas like Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. It also addresses the impact of these rising costs on Florida's workforce and economy, including the implications for cost-burdened households. The paper further examines state-to-state migration trends, particularly focusing on Florida residents moving to Georgia for more affordable housing options. The overall narrative suggests a complex interplay between economic factors, housing market dynamics, and demographic shifts in Florida's rental market.

The Impact of Unlicensed Vacation Rentals on Florida's Economy

/ Categories: Research

"Unlicensed Vacation Rentals: An Analysis of Florida's Tourism-Driven Economy" provides an in-depth analysis of the unlicensed vacation rental market in Florida. It highlights the significant impact these rentals have on the state's tourism economy, including issues of tax evasion, safety concerns, and unfair competitive advantages over licensed properties. The research reveals a notable prevalence of unlicensed rentals in Florida, which, in 2022, constituted a significant proportion of the state’s temporary public lodging units. The study brings to light how operators of these unlicensed rentals often circumvent tax obligations, thus negatively impacting the state's revenue and creating an unlevel playing field in the tourism sector. This paper includes recommendations for stricter enforcement of licensing regulations, improved transparency in rental operations, and more efficient tax collection mechanisms to address these challenges. The paper serves as a critical resource for policymakers, business owners in the tourism sector, and tax authorities, providing essential insights to inform decisions and strategies aimed at ensuring a fair and regulated tourism industry in Florida.

It's Time to Reform Florida's Information Technology Procurement and Oversight

/ Categories: Research, Releases

This report highlights the chronic issues plaguing Florida's large-scale IT projects, such as inadequate planning, contracting, and management. These issues have led to the repeated formation and dissolution of a state agency overseeing these projects, with the most recent being the Florida Digital Service (FL[DS]) established in 2020. The paper provides a series of recommendations to prevent the failure of FL[DS]. These include forming a joint House and Senate IT committee for oversight, adopting a new governance model, standardizing statewide agency business processes, and revising Florida Statutes for better IT project procurement and vendor evaluation. Furthermore, the paper suggests methods to attract and retain IT talent, like offering signing bonuses, revising job descriptions to focus on skills, and creating a talent pipeline from the State University System. The report emphasizes the necessity for effective project management and strategic decisions to ensure the success of Florida's IT projects and to safeguard taxpayer investments​​.

Addressing Florida's Escalating Physician Shortage: Strategies and Solutions

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Releases

This paper addresses the growing issue of physician shortages in Florida. This shortage is primarily driven by an increasing and aging population, coupled with a high rate of physician retirements. The report evaluates the gap between healthcare demand and the supply of physicians, emphasizing the need for more medical students and improved healthcare policies. It discusses strategies like expanding Graduate Medical Education, utilizing telehealth, and leveraging Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to mitigate this shortage. The paper also considers legal and business aspects of practicing medicine in Florida, suggesting improvements to attract and retain healthcare professionals.


 

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools

Q1 (2023-2024)

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC, Releases, BOC

The Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Quarterly Report for Q1 2023-24, presented to the Bond Oversight Committee, marks the midpoint of the school year and Year 10 of the SMART Program. The report acknowledges Resolution 23-109 from May 9, 2023, which recognizes the efforts of the Bond Oversight Committee and Florida TaxWatch in overseeing the SMART Program and notes the Twentieth Statewide Grand Jury's identification of program deficiencies. The resolution sets an expectation for the SMART Program's completion by October 31, 2025, including financial close-out and full expenditure of General Obligation Bond funds. The report details various program aspects like safety improvements, technology upgrades, and budget activities, while addressing financial risks and the critical role of oversight committees.

Florida's Labor Resilience: Navigating the National Cool-Down and Local Market Dynamics

/ Categories: Research, Workforce Development

Amidst a national shift towards a cooler labor market with fewer job openings, the study explores the consequent effects on wage trends and inflationary pressures. The focus is on Florida's unique position and its adaptive response to these economic headwinds, highlighting the state's labor market resilience. As job openings decline and employee separations remain high, Florida's experience offers a case study in managing workforce challenges during economic cooldowns. This paper is a must-read for policymakers, economists, and business leaders interested in the interplay between labor markets and inflation, especially those focused on the Sunshine State's economic climate.

An Analysis of the Tax Treatment of Credit Unions: Value of Florida Credit Unions’ Exemption Is Now $259 Million

/ Categories: Research

Originally designed to serve specific community segments, credit unions have since expanded their reach and service offerings, making their tax exemptions increasingly valuable. From 1997's exemption value of $89.1 million, the exemption's worth has risen to $259 million in 2023. This report sheds light on the industry's transformations, recent trends like mergers and acquisitions, and reevaluates the rationale behind the tax exemptions. It aims to fuel informed discussions on credit union taxation and their exemption status.

Water Infrastructure Projects are Vital

Develop and Fund a 3-5 Year Strategic Work Program

/ Categories: Research

Water provides varied and vital benefits to Floridians, our businesses, and visitors. We literally could not live without it. Our water resources are a massive, interconnected system, one that is expensive to maintain. Federal, state, and local governments have been spending a lot of taxpayer money on upkeep and enhancements, but there is still much work to be done.

Septic-to-Sewer: Protecting Florida’s Ground and Surface Water

/ Categories: Research

From the early days on the edge of the Tigris and Euphrates River to now, water has long been a staple of civilization. As discussed in the Florida TaxWatch report “We Can’t Wait on Water” (January 2020), Florida relies upon high-quality water to maintain the well-being of public health, ecosystem services, recreation, property values, and economic activities, such as fishing, boating, sailing, and other water-based tourism. But Florida’s water quality is at risk.

Extending State Group Insurance to the Florida College System

/ Categories: Research, Blog

Serving as the eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch annually reviews the state budget to prepare its Budget Guide, showing how hard-earned taxpayer dollars are spent. This year, consistent with a recommendation by Florida TaxWatch, line item 2923 of the 500-page General Appropriations Act appropriates $500,000 in nonrecurring funds to the Department of Management Services to contract for a comprehensive analysis to determine the fiscal impact and feasibility of extending the State Group Insurance Program (SGIP) to employees of the Florida College System.

 

Economic Benefits of a Robust Childcare System in Florida

/ Categories: Research

Access to affordable, quality child care and early learning programs is essential for keeping parents in the workforce. In July 2022, Florida TaxWatch released “How Childcare Impacts the State’s Economy and Shapes Florida’s Workforce” to examine the risk unstable childcare options pose to the state’s economy. The briefing found that childcare-related turnover can cost $8.2 billion in lost earnings for families, $1.7 billion in turnover expenses for businesses, and $745.3 million in tax revenues, annually. Yet, the availability and capacity of high-quality child care and early learning programs remain limited, and often unaffordable, for many Florida families

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC, Releases, BOC

As the 2023-24 school year begins and students return to class, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) begins Year 10 of the SMART Program. This is significant in that former Superintendent Runcie promised the taxpayers that all SMART projects would start within five years and be completed by year seven.

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