General Revenue (GR) collections for the month of May came in $779.6 million (26.4 percent) below estimate. This news comes from the new Monthly Revenue Report, just released by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.1 It is somewhat surprising that the amount by which May GR collections fell short of the previous estimates is less than that of April ($878.1 million). May collections largely reflect sales activity in April, a month that was almost entirely under the statewide ‘Safer at Home’ order.
A Roadmap for a Responsible Recovery
As the nation recovers from one of the worst economic recessions in history, Florida continues to battle unprecedented fiscal challenges and budget shortfalls that have made business-as-usual in state government unsustainable. In response to this crisis, this report presents immediately actionable ideas in the event that a significant budget deficit occurs in FY2020-21.
Presented to the Broward County Bond Oversight Committee June 15, 2020
An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process
The report promotes additional oversight and integrity in the state’s budgeting process based on the principle that: because money appropriated by the Legislature belongs to the taxpayers of Florida, the process must be transparent and accountable, and every appropriation should receive deliberation and public debate. The budget review identifies appropriations that circumvent transparency and accountability standards in public budgeting.
Net General Revenue (GR) collections for the month of April came in $878.1 million (29.4 percent) below estimate. This news comes from a new Monthly Revenue Report just released by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.1 This is the first month of data to show a significant decrease in revenues due to the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s economy. April GR collections generally reflect March sales tax activity, so the decline in May collections (reflecting April sales) will be much larger.
Telehealth is being practiced in Florida every day pursuant to the standards of practice for telehealth adopted by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. These standards require a Florida license and provide that the standards of care shall remain the same regardless of whether healthcare services are provided in person or by telehealth. There is no shortage of licensed physicians willing to provide telehealth in Florida. Florida statute 456.47, enacted in 2019, is the governing language for the practice of telehealth in Florida. Currently, health insurance companies are not required to pay or reimburse telehealth services, they do so on a voluntary basis pursuant to Florida statutes
Floridians’ tax burden is going to decrease but so is our ability to pay for it
Every year, right around the usual April 15 deadline to pay your federal taxes, Florida TaxWatch releases our Taxpayer Independence Day report. This marks the symbolic date that Floridians are finally earning money for themselves–not for the government. This assumes that every dollar earned since January 1 goes to pay federal, state, and local tax obligations. This measure of tax burden is based on the relative size of all taxes paid in Florida to our state’s total personal income and serves as a gauge for how fast government is growing versus our ability to pay for it.
In two dashboards, we explored the distribution of $150 billion in federal aid under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to the different states and to qualifying local governments. Each state is allocated an amount proportional to its population size with at least $1.25 billion guaranteed regardless of population share. In addition, local governments with populations over 500,000 can also claim up to 45% of the amount allocated for their population, while the other 55% is retained by the state to serve that same population. Also, a second dashboard shows the distribution among Florida’s qualifying local governments.
This Florida TaxWatch Briefing analyzes the significance of public employment in Florida by breaking down the ten largest employers per county (by number of employees) based on whether they are public or private entities. Public entities fall under four levels: federal, state, county, and municipal governments. Of the 670 entities statewide, 280 are public and 390 are private.
BRIDG was established as a not-for-profit, public-private partnership with support from state and local governments and leading manufacturing industry companies. For the 2019-20 fiscal year, state funding for BRIDG was withheld. BRIDG has the potential to generate thousands of high-skill, high-wage jobs, with billions of dollars in total earnings and hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local tax revenues. BRIDG has the potential to establish Central Florida as a major hub, if not THE major hub, for information technology research, innovation, and manufacturing in the world. Florida TaxWatch presents this report in hope that the Governor and Legislature will continue its investment in BRIDG for fiscal year 2020-21 and beyond.