2015-16 Government Efficiency Task Force Report

/ Categories: Research, Cost Savings

Pursuant to Article III, section 19(i) of the Florida Constitution, the Government Efficiency Task Force (“Task Force”) is pleased to submit its final recommendations to the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Legislative Budget Commission. The enclosed report includes 29 recommendations which, if implemented, will significantly improve the efficiency of government operations and will reduce the costs of government by more than $2 billion annually.

Budget Watch - Budget Process Underway for FY2017-18

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps
The FY2017-18 budget process is now underway. The Governor’s office recently provided budget instructions to state agencies to use in formulating their legislative budget requests (LBRs), which are due on October 14. The Governor will then use the LBRs to develop his budget recommendations, which must be provided to the Legislature at least 30 days before the start (March 7) of the 2017 Legislative Session.

The Impact of a $15/hr Minimum Wage

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
In states across the nation, minimum wage policies continue to dominate political and economic discussions. Recently, two of the nation’s largest states, New York and California, have both passed laws that will gradually raise the minimum wage in those states to $15/hr. This report examines the potential impact of an abrupt raise of Florida's minimum wage to $15/hr.

Lower Costs & Less Crime

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
Florida can no longer rely on the outdated and inefficient policies of the past, and must begin to consider policies and practices that not only keep Floridians safe, but also address the two primary drivers of growth in the criminal justice system: overincarceration and recidivism. The recommendations detailed in this report, while by no means an exhaustive list of necessary improvements, aim to put Florida on the path to achieve these goals.

Taxpayer Independence Day 2016

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide
Wednesday, April 20 Florida TaxWatch celebrates Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2016: the day Floridians are finally earning money for themselves and 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 2015, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 110 out of 365 days, or more than three and a half months.

Unemployment Rate Is Not The Whole Story

/ Categories: Research
One key metric that is widely overlooked in the unemployment rate discussion is the labor force participation rate (LFPR), which measures the percentage of the total population aged 16 and above who are currently employed or are unemployed and actively seeking employment. While overlooked, the LFPR is one of the most important metrics to understanding the overall landscape of the job markets.

Welcoming the World

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Tourism
Tourism is vital to the economy of Florida, and with the recovery of the world economy, international travel across the world is reaching record highs. This, coupled with data showing the major positive impact international tourists have on economies, provides evidence that Florida should expand its efforts when it comes to attracting foreign visitors to the state.

A Catalyst for Growth

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
This analysis finds that Florida’s competitive tax climate and welcoming weather entice businesses to our state, but Florida must provide targeted incentive packages that will help create high-paying jobs in the Sunshine State as we compete with other states for domestic and global business.

Building Florida's High-Tech Manufacturing Sector

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
As the global manufacturing industry shifts away from classically portrayed steel and car plants to a modernized approach of high-tech manufacturing; companies, countries, and states find themselves looking for a way to best position themselves to benefit from the future of manufacturing. Florida finds itself in a unique position to capitalize on an existing project that could help the state become a world leader in high-tech manufacturing for years to come.

Meeting Florida's Transportation Investment Needs

/ Categories: Research, Transportation
Florida continues to grow and is now the nation’s third largest state. After a slowdown during the Great Recession, Florida is on the rise again, and the state will add more than four million new residents by 2030. This report examines the expected needs of the transportation system across the state.

Budget Watch - Governor's FY2016-17 Recommended Budget

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Cost Savings
Florida legislators received news this week that they will have $395.6 million less to spend on the next state budget than originally anticipated. Citing weaker corporate profits and adverse developments in the international economy, the state General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference decreased its estimates of GR collections in each of the six years in its forecast horizon.

2016 Economic Preview

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development
As we kick off 2016, Floridians can look forward to consistent growth in the Florida economy. As shown in the December 2015 Economic Commentary, Florida experienced strong job growth in 2015, adding nearly a quarter of a million jobs. Heading into 2016, Florida’s job market is widely expected to maintain its course as the Florida economy as a whole continues to strengthen. One of the most commonly used metrics to measure a state’s economy is the Real Gross State Product (RGSP), which measures the value of economic output for a given state, adjusted for price changes stemming from inflation or deflation. Florida’s RGSP is expected to grow 3.1 percent in 2016, which is roughly a half a percentage point higher than the United States.

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.
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