Budget Watch - House and Senate Budgets for FY2020-21

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

With a little over two weeks remaining in the 2020 Legislative Session, there is still much to be decided about how more than $90 billion in taxpayer money will be spent next year. The General Appropriations Act is the only bill the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass. Budget conference negotiations will formally begin soon, likely next week. Since lawmakers are constitutionally required to wait 72 hours before a final vote, a mutually agreed-upon budget must be produced by Tuesday, March 10 in order for an on-time finish of the session on Friday, March 13. As we prepare to head into conference, this analysis looks at what is in the two budgets and what the major differences are.

Diverting Tourist Development Tax Revenue

Florida Shouldn’t “Eat Our Seed Corn” by Diverting Tourist Development Tax Revenue

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Local Government

Tourist Development Taxes (TDTs) play a vital role in Florida counties’ promotion of tourism in their areas. Over the years, the Legislature has added more and more authorized uses of this revenue, diluting the funding available for tourism promotion and advertising. During the 2020 session, efforts to further expanded the authorized uses are continuing. The “slippery slope” warning raised by the tourism industry and Florida TaxWatch in the past has become a reality. 

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.

We Can’t Wait on Water

The Restoration and Protection of Florida’s Water Resources is an Essential Taxpayer Investment

/ Categories: Research

Water is perhaps Florida’s most valuable resource. In addition to sustaining life, it provides many environmental, economic, and recreational benefits to the public. With more than 7,700 lakes, 10,550 miles of rivers, more than 1,000 springs, and 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline, it is also central to Florida’s identity and a key reason why so many people visit the Sunshine State. This report examines the investment in water resource restoration, protection, and the potential benefits it provides.

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. 

Budget Watch - The Governor’s FY2020-21 Budget and Tax Recommendations

/ Categories: Research

Governor Ron DeSantis has released his $91.4 billion recommended spending plan for FY2020-21, providing a starting point for budget negotiations for when the next legislative session convenes on January 14, 2020. This could be considered his first recommended budget, since he released the last one less than a month after he took office, and agencies had submitted their budget requests three months before.

From Grease & Grime to Technology & Talent

A Summary of the 2019 Florida Make More Manufacturing Summit

/ Categories: Research

The slogan “Made in America” has always meant jobs for Americans. Manufacturing is the transformation of raw materials into new products and it ranges from small, home-based businesses that make products by hand to the largest, most technologically sophisticated factories and plants. The Manufacturing sector is made up of 21 subsectors which provide more than 12.5 million high-paying jobs. Manufacturing jobs pay an average of 12 percent more than other jobs. In 2017, persons employed in U.S. Manufacturing jobs earned an average of $84,832 (includes benefits) annually.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Report 2019

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

As of 2010, there were 2.5 million Floridians in their 50s, 2.1 million Floridians in their 60s, 1.4 million Floridians in their 70s and almost 1 million Floridians in their 80s and above. There is every reason to believe that these numbers will continue to rise. Recent estimates predict that Florida’s 65 and older population will represent 24.1 percent of Florida’s overall population by the year 2030. As Florida’s population continues to age, the elderly population will require vastly different and more costly forms of health care, such as long-term care for chronic conditions, more frequent examinations and follow-ups, and services and care for cognitive and mental impairments.

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