The Handbook is, at its core, a compilation and translation of knowledge and experience from some of the people who have been through the extraordinary and unique endeavor which the new Governor is about to undertake, and a guide to the policy choices that will have to be made as the Governor of Florida.
Florida’s state forecasters estimate that the 2019 Legislature will have a $223.4 million budget surplus when it puts together the state’s new spending plan for FY 2019-20. However, this assumes the Legislature will transfer nearly $400 million from trust funds—money earmarked by law for specific uses—into the General Revenue (GR) Fund.
On November 6, 2018, Floridians will vote on 12 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. This Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide is designed to provide voters with information about each of the amendments to help them cast well-informed votes.
Distributed to the Bond Oversight Committee on October 8, 2018, this report examines the SMART program quarterly report for Q4 of FY2018.
Proposed Homestead Exemption Benefits Relatively Few Floridians and Will Likely Increase Taxes on Everyone Else
Floridians will be voting on as many as 13 state constitutional amendments on November 6, 2018. The first on the list, Amendment 1 (A1), would create a new $25,000 homestead exemption from property taxes.
Florida’s General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference met on August 16 and forecast that the state would collect $13.1 million less than expected in FY2018-19 and $19.5 million less in FY2019-20. This reduces the estimated GR that the Legislature will have for the next state budget by $32.6 million, a change of less than one-tenth of 1 percent.
Actual net GR collections for the fiscal year that that just ended exceeded the last estimate (February 2018, adjusted for legislative changes) by $205.2 million (0.66 percent). This will be added to the unobligated FY2018-19 GR (cash reserve) balance of $1.026 billion to be carried forward to the next budget year (FY2019-20). These numbers, along with the current cycle of the state’s Estimating Conferences, can begin to define the fiscal outlook for the next state budget that will be developed by the 2019 Legislature.
The 2018 Legislature passed a $88.727 billion state budget—the General Appropriations Act (GAA)—which recently took effect on July 1. But that doesn’t tell the whole story of what was spent by lawmakers last session. While the GAA price tag gets all the publicity, other appropriations can go largely unnoticed.
In April 2018, TaxWatch convened a 90-minute education roundtable in Orlando to discuss ways to improve the overall quality of pre-K–12 education by improving the leadership qualities of our public school principals. Joining the nine current PLA-winning principals were three former PLA-winning principals, the Chair of the State Board of Education, one current and one former member of the Florida House of Representatives, and a number of business and community leaders from across the state.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling that paves the way for a successful resolution to an issue Florida TaxWatch has fought for more than 15 years.
The 2018 Edition of this annual pocket guide gives taxpayers and elected officials great insight as to how Florida's taxes compare to other states and the national average across a wide variety of metrics.
Designing effective workforce development policy requires drawing on the wealth of knowledge provided by academic and scientific research; the purpose of this paper is to stitch the relevant literature together so as to develop a comprehensive approach to workforce development.
Distributed to the Bond Oversight Committee on May 21, 2018, this report examines the SMART program quarterly report for Q3 of FY2018.
In November 2018, Florida voters have a chance avoid a major property tax increase on owners of commercial or rental property, vacation or second homes, unimproved real estate, or any other non- homestead property. This tax increase will happen if the current 10 percent cap on non-homestead property assessments—scheduled to be repealed—is not reauthorized by the voters.
The data from the 2020 Census will be used to allocate this funding for the next 10 years! This makes the upcoming 2020 Census vital to the quality of life in your community and all of Florida.
Saturday, April 14, Florida TaxWatch joins the taxpayers in our state in celebrating Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2018. 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.
In Florida, the expansion of hospice programs and other health care facilities and services is guided by the “Certificate of Need” (“CON”) process. Since the CON approval requires that providers enroll all eligible individuals seeking care within their assigned service area, hospices in Florida see relatively high utilization rates. In this report, Florida TaxWatch recommends the CON process be retained, and that hospice regulators continue to identify ways that Florida hospice providers can better control hospice costs, improve the quality of hospice care, and direct investments into medically-needy areas.
The $88.7 billion budget passed by the Florida House and Senate for FY2018-19 contains 87 appropriations items qualifying as Budget Turkeys worth $147.5 million. Since projects were not added to the budget during conference this year, most of these were flagged because they circumvented established selection processes. This includes 56 local transportation projects worth nearly $120 million. These member projects, for which there is no formal evaluation and selection process, bypass the transportation planning process, potentially diverting funds from projects that are in the DOT work program.
Find out all about what happened this Session with the TaxWatch Legislative Wrap Up.
The Constitution Revision Commission is considering a proposal (P88) that, if approved by the voters, would create a new section in the Constitution to establish a “bill of rights” that expands litigation for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida. Florida TaxWatch has undertaken an analysis of P88 to guide Commission members in their deliberations regarding P88 and its committee substitute (CS/P88), and to educate the voters should the Commission recommend CS/P88 be placed on the ballot for the November 2018 General Election.
The House unveiled its 2018 tax cut package (HB 7087) almost a month ago, while the Senate’s did not appear until week 8 of
the session when it was amended onto SB 620 in the Appropriations Committee. The bills have a lot of similarities, but there are big differences that will have to be negotiated before a final tax cut package is approved.
Distributed to the Bond Oversight Committee on February 28, 2018, this report examines the SMART program quarterly report for Q2 of FY2018.
On February 14, 2018, the House Ways & Means Committee unveiled and passed its proposed tax cut package. The bill contains numerous tax relief provisions, covering sales taxes, property taxes, corporate income taxes, documentary stamp taxes and traffic fines. Several temporary exemptions to provide tax relief for agriculture and homeowners impacted by hurricanes are included.
The 2018 Legislature has an opportunity to strengthen and increase the independence of an important taxpayer safeguard—the Florida Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate. Senate Bill 826 and House Bill 1345 would make the needed changes to the law.
As the Florida Legislature prepares to go into conference budget negotiations to finalize the FY2018-19 budget, state estimators gave lawmakers a bit of good news. Florida’s General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference met on February 9 and forecast that the state would collect an additional $461.8 million in FY2017-18 and FY2018-19.