Budget Watch - What is the Cost of Florida's State and Local Government?

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Local Government
Florida’s has historically held the reputation of being a low-tax state, and that is largely true, especially at the state level. But taxes do not tell the whole story of what government costs its citizens. Taxes, especially those reported to the U.S. Census Bureau, exclude a large amount of revenue paid into government co ers by citizens. And that non-tax revenue accounts for a much higher portion of government total revenue in Florida than in the average state. A better measure of the cost of government is “own source revenue,” which Florida TaxWatch has been tracking in its How Florida Compares series. Own source revenue includes all direct revenue except for intergovernmental aid, revenue from government-owned utilities and other enterprises, and social insurance funds. It includes non-tax revenue such as fees, charges for services, special assessments, impact fees and net lottery revenue.

Budget Watch - Governor's FY2016-17 Recommended Budget

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Local Government
Governor Rick Scott’s budget recommendations for FY2016-17 total $79.252 billion—an increase of 1.1 percent ($855.1 million) over current year spending. General Revenue (GR) spending of $29.260 billion would be an increase of 1.4 percent over the current year. The budget proposes to fund 112,823 state employee positions, 864 fewer than currently exist.

Florida's Fiscal Strength Ranked 5th Best Nationally

/ Categories: Research, Taxes
A recent study by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center reviewed the fiscal health of the United States, breaking down each state individually for comparison across several standardized metrics. This Economic Commentary takes a look into some of these measurements, as well as examining other areas that affect Florida’s fiscal standing.

Thanksgiving and the Start of Holiday Shopping

/ Categories: Research, Taxes
Thanksgiving for most people invokes images of family gatherings, turkey, and football. But for retailers, it invokes images of large crowds and dollar signs. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are cash cows for businesses, particularly the retail and food industries. Those days are also important for Florida, as the state will collect a six percent sales and use tax on most of the retail goods purchased by shoppers and some grocery items, but will fail to collect lawfully owed taxes on many items purchased online during Cyber Monday.

Challenges Facing Florida's Community-Based Child Welfare System

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Education
In this study, Florida TaxWatch evaluates the two primary issues contributing to, and subsequently worsened by the increased demand on the system: workforce instability and increasing need for services. The study concludes by recommending that the state examine options that improve service accessibility and availability and enhance workforce stability.

Extending the Manufacturing Machinery & Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Economic Development
Given the diverse economic benefits provided by manufacturing, it is in the state’s best interest to continue to foster growth in this sector, and Florida lags behind compared to other Southern states. But while most Southern states provide broad tax exemptions for manufacturing equipment, Florida’s most important exemption to encourage capital investment in manufacturing will sunset in April 2017. The analysis in this report demonstrates that extending the exemption could provide a significant economic benefit to the state, and its manufacturing industry.

Budget Watch - 2016-17 Legislative Budget Requests

Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion.

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