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Research Library

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.

Budget Watch - Small Surplus Estimated for the Next State Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

It appears the 2020 Florida Legislature will have a little money left over after funding a continuation budget for the next fiscal year, but lawmakers need to be careful about spending it. State economists estimate that there will be a General Revenue (GR) budget surplus of $289.3 after funding the base budget plus “critical needs” and “high priority needs”—a conservative continuation budget.

Education Leadership Roundtable Summary Report 2019

/ Categories: Research, Education

Moderated by our Vice President for Research Bob Nave, the panel discussed obstacles to effective school leadership; ways to attract and retain high-quality teachers; professional development for principals; how to get the most from teachers; and principal autonomy.

Budget Watch–General Revenue Estimates Reduced Slightly

 Loss of Indian Gaming Revenue Puts a Dent in General Revenue; State to Refund $542 Million in Excess Corporate Income Taxes

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference met on August 14 to develop a new revenue forecast for Florida. It was a challenging and complex conference for the state’s economists.  The uncertainty surrounding corporate income tax collections, the loss of Indian gaming revenue, a weaker economic forecast, and the impact of Hurricane Michael were some of the factors they were dealing with.

2019 Budget Turkey Watch Report

An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process

/ Categories: Research, Budget Turkeys, Budget/Approps

The 2019 Budget Turkey Watch Report: An Analysis of the Transparency and Accountability of the Budget Process is the result of an annual independent review of Florida’s new budget by Florida TaxWatch. The report started in 1983, and having been published annually since 1986, 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. 

2019 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up

/ Categories: Research, E-Fairness, Budget/Approps

The 2019 Florida Legislative Session is over. Lawmakers approved 197 bills this year, setting a record for the fewest bills passed (at least since 2001, and likely long before that). The amount of bills passed has been steadily declining. This is probably a good thing, but it also reflects the use of “trains,” strike-all amendments, and adding brand new issues to bills at the last minute, things that certainly occurred this year. Still, there was some good legislation that passed and, as always, some missed opportunities and some great ideas that became less so as the process wore on.

Session Spotlight: 2019 Tax Package

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps

On Thursday, May 2, the Senate took up the tax package passed by the House (HB 7123) and adopted a strike-all amendment that put the Senate package on the bill. It kept many of the provisions (with some changes), added some new provisions, and removed one controversial provision, and changed another.

Taxpayer Independence Day 2019

/ Categories: Research, Taxes

On Sunday, April 14, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2019. On that day, Floridians are finally earning money for themselves–not for the tax collector. This symbolic date assumes that every dollar earned since January 1 goes to pay federal, state, and local tax obligations. 

The Legislature Must Stop Diverting Affordable Housing Funding

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

There is an affordable housing crisis in Florida. It is truly a nationwide problem, but it is especially acute in the Sunshine State. The availability of affordable housing for lower-income families in Florida is lower than almost all other states, and most of those at the lower end of the income scale that do have places to live are overburdened with housing costs they cannot afford.

Budget Watch - Analysis Of The House & Senate Budgets For FY2019-20

DIFFERENCES IN EDUCATION, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND MORE MUST BE WORKED OUT

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

At the halfway mark of the 2019 Legislative Session, the House and Senate approved their proposed state budgets for FY2019-20. Both spending plans exceed current spending—the Senate by more than $1.0 billion and the House by $588.4 million. The House increases current General Revenue (GR) spending by $609.5 million (1.9 percent), while the Senate increases GR by $841.2 million (2.6 percent).

Session Spotlight: E-Fairness Legislation Moving in 2019

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, E-Fairness

Florida TaxWatch has researched this issue for more than 15 years, producing numerous reports and offerings recommendations. But the courts’ physical presence requirement has always been a major obstacle. But now that obstacle is gone as a result of the US Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision, and it is time for the Legislature to fix this. Senate Bill 1112 can achieve this long-elusive goal. 

Wayfair: Formulating A Florida Response

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, E-Fairness

The non-collection of sales taxes on sales to Florida customers by remote (out-of-state) sellers has been the most significant tax compliance and collection issue facing Florida and other states for many years. Remote vendors sell products by the internet, telephone, and mail. Historically, the courts have held that when a remote seller makes a sale to a person in a state in which the seller does not have a physical presence, that state cannot require the seller to collect the sales tax due and remit it to the state. 

Reducing the Communications Services Tax Would Provide Relief to Virtually All Florida Families and Businesses; Florida’s High Tax Rate is Punitive, Distortionary, and Non-Competitive

/ Categories: Research, Taxes

Since the enactment of the Communications Services Tax (CST) Simplification Act in 2001, Florida TaxWatch has released several reports recommending that the Legislature reduce this burdensome and highly regressive tax on consumers. Florida’s CST is very high, relative to both other states and the sales tax on the purchase of other goods. This high rate makes the tax punitive and distortionary, and makes the state less competitive than other states, including the potential for reducing investment in broadband network infrastructure. 

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