Commentary: An Inappropriate Cost of Doing Business: Paying the Interchange Fee on Sales Tax for Credit Card Purchases

/ Categories: Research, Cost Savings

Credit cards provide a convenience for consumers and merchants when shopping, both in-person or online. This convenience comes at a cost for merchants since credit card companies charge them an interchange fee (or “swipe fee”) on each credit card purchase. Throughout the last decade, credit card utilization and popularity have increased drastically for a brick-and-mortar businesses and e-commerce businesses. 

Why Taxpayers Should Care about Workforce Instability with Florida’s Public Defenders and State Attorneys

/ Categories: Research, Corrections/Judicial, Workforce Development

One of the fundamental responsibilities of government is to ensure the safety and welfare of those in its care. This includes indigents who are accused of wrongdoing and who would otherwise be unable to afford a private attorney to defend them. It is essential that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused is afforded all rights under Amendment VI of the U.S. Constitution, including the right to a speedy trial and the right to have the assistance of competent defense counsel, even if they cannot afford it.

A Closer Look at Florida’s Sales Tax Exemptions

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

The six percent sales and use tax is Florida state government’s largest revenue sourceby far, currently bringing in approximately $36 billion annually. When the almost $6 billion in local option sales tax collections is included with the state tax, the $42 billion total collections make the sales tax the number one tax source for all Florida governments, topping the $40 billion local property tax.

IDEAS IN ACTION: Be Prepared: Using Florida’s Natural Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change

Guest Column By Josiah Neeley

/ Categories: Research, Guest Columns, Blog

Florida has a diverse and beautiful natural environment, ranging from the Everglades to the beaches of the Florida panhandle. The state is also vulnerable to a variety of extreme weather events, such as flooding and hurricanes, which are projected to become more severe in the coming decades due to climate change. Protecting the state against these events could be a costly undertaking. Various proposals seek to minimize the risks through new infrastructure projects such as sea walls. But in deciding how best to adapt to extreme weather risk, Florida should be sure to consider using the state’s “natural infrastructure” to protect itself in a less costly and more sustainable way.

POLICY STUDIES ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT Be Prepared: Using Florida’s Natural Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change

/ Categories: Research, Releases

Florida has a diverse and beautiful natural environment, ranging from the Everglades to the beaches of the Florida panhandle. The state is also vulnerable to a variety of extreme weather events, such as flooding and hurricanes, which are projected to become more severe in the coming decades due to climate change. Protecting the state against these events could be a costly undertaking. Various proposals seek to minimize the risks through new infrastructure projects such as sea walls. But in deciding how best to adapt to extreme weather risk, Florida should be sure to consider using the state’s “natural infrastructure” to protect itself in a less costly and more sustainable way.

IDEAS IN ACTION: Florida’s Insurance Crisis—Brought by Lawyers

Guest Column By Josiah Neeley

/ Categories: Research, Insurance, Blog

Florida’s homeowners insurance market is in the emergency room on life support. Homeowners and insurance agents across the state struggle to obtain reasonably priced homeowners insurance. In 2022, the average annual premium for a homeowners insurance policy was $4,231, close to three times the U.S. average of $1,544, and nearly twice Florida’s $2,505 average just two years ago. In 2023, premiums are on track to climb even higher. The Florida state legislature held two special sessions in 2022 focused on making insurance more available and affordable. Although the meetings helped raise lawmakers’ awareness of the cause of the crisis and introduced measures to arrest further market deterioration, reasonably priced insurance is expected to remain hard to find in 2023.

Florida TaxWatch Briefing: Extending State Group Insurance to the Florida College System

Case Study: Indian River State College

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Health Care, Insurance

Florida’s economy is strong. If Florida were a country, its gross domestic product (GDP) would rank 14th among economies worldwide, and its ambitions do not stop there. Florida aims to be within the top ten economies by 2030. By this time, two in three jobs are expected to require specialized training, a credential, or a degree. To achieve its economic goal, Florida will need to continue developing its specialized workforce. With 120,000 students completing Florida College System (FCS) programs each year, the FCS plays a critical role in providing the talent pipeline necessary to reach Florida’s economic goal and does so at a very affordable cost to students and Florida taxpayers alike.

Blog: Florida's Property Insurance Market

/ Categories: Research, Insurance, Blog

Florida has always endured a complex property insurance market due its unpredictable weather and proneness to hurricane catastrophes. Recent issues, however, have nearly pushed the market to the brink of collapse. With the combination of insurance company insolvencies, excessive litigation from fraud, and the recent devastation from Hurricane Ian, Florida’s crisis continues to worsen.

Economic Census Blog January 2023

/ Categories: Research, Census, BOC

While the U.S. Census Bureau is popularly known as the leader of decennial census counts, it is also charged with conducting other surveys throughout the decade to help inform American decision-making. With each survey, the U.S. Census Bureau aims to strike the “best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality and cost” to gather the data that define our nation’s people and economy. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot achieve its goal alone. Like the census count, the participation of all residents is key to ensuring that Americans can fully reap the benefits that the U.S. Census Bureau has to offer.

American Community Survey Blog – January 2023

/ Categories: Research, Census, Blog

In December 2022, data for the American Community Survey 2017-2021 5-Year Estimates was released. On January 26th, the 5-Year Microdata and 1-Year Data Profiles will be available. An accurate decennial census count is important for community and business decision-making. The census count creates data estimates touching nearly every facet of a taxpayer’s life, ranging from average work commutes to how many people have access to broadband. While the census is the basis for such statistics, it is obvious that counting people cannot provide such in-depth knowledge alone. The census has a partner: the American Community Survey (ACS).

How Florida Compares: Taxes 2022

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Taxpayer Guide

The annual Florida TaxWatch How Florida Compares: Taxes report ranks Florida’s state and local taxes against those levied around the nation. The nearly 40 tables, charts, and graphs in this report provide comprehensive information on state and local tax rates, tax collections, and other government revenues for all 50 states, and historical information for Florida.

IDEAS IN ACTION – Be Prepared: Water Quality and Climate Change in Florida

Guest Column By Josiah Neeley

/ Categories: Research, Blog

It’s no secret that climate change poses acute risks and costs for Florida. With its extended coastline and geographic position, the state has always been vulnerable
to damage from hurricanes, flooding and sea level rise. While some of the consequences of climate change have been widely circulated in the media and politics, other serious risks have received comparatively less attention. In particular, the risks that rising sea levels and increased flooding pose to Florida’s drinking water supply and to its water infrastructure deserve greater consideration.

Producing More Talent

MakeMore Manufacturing Summit – 2022 Summary Report

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Manufacturing, Workforce Development

FloridaMakes is the manufacturing extension partnership for the state of Florida. FloridaMakes is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and delivers business growth, talent development, and technology adoption services to manufacturers through regional manufacturers’ associations.

Florida Voters Continue to Say Yes to Proposed Tax Increases

Voters approve $2.2 billion in tax referenda and $1.4 in bond issues in 2021 and 2022

/ Categories: Research, Taxes

At the state level, taxpayers in Florida have enjoyed tax cuts passed by the Legislature every year since 2009.  However, at the local level, Florida voters continue to vote to significantly increase the taxes they pay.  A 2021 Florida TaxWatch report discovered that since 2010, Floridians voted to increase their own taxes 142 times. This includes voting to extend existing expiring tax levies.

 

The Importance of Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) Grants

/ Categories: Research, Education

Florida’s Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) grants provide modest tuition equalization to reduce the difference between public and private tuition; make private institutions more affordable to Florida residents; fuel enrollment growth; increase retention and degree completions in Florida; and reduce the tax burden on Florida taxpayers.

Instructional Expenses: Prek-12 Education Spending

/ Categories: Research, Education, Blog

Where and how well our school districts spend our education dollars can have a profound impact on student academic achievement and success. Historically, education makes up about one-fourth of Florida’s total budget. Florida TaxWatch believes that shifting education spending away from administrative and other expenses and toward classroom/instructional expenses is beneficial.

Using Public-Private Partnerships and Public-Public Partnerships to Meet the Growing Demands for Public Infrastructure

The gap between Florida’s infrastructure needs and what Florida currently has is nearly $2.59 trillion over ten years. By year 2039, a continued underinvestment in Florida’s infrastructure at current rates will have serious economic consequences — $10 trillion in lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than 3 million lost jobs, and $2.4 trillion in lost exports. Two creative solutions are public-private partnerships (PPPs) and public-public partnerships (PUPs). Why then, are there not more PPPs and PUPs? 

Monitoring and Oversight of General Obligation Bonds to Improve Broward County Schools: SMART Program Quarterly Report

/ Categories: Research, Broward BOC

The Broward County Public Schools’ Bond Oversight Committee Quarterly Report for the Quarter that Ended September 30, 2022 (“District Quarterly Report”) provides updated information on the implementation of the District’s SMART Program and the use of general obligation bond funds to purchase and install technology upgrades, purchase music, and art equipment, improve school safety and security, upgrade athletic facilities, and renovate educational facilities.

2022 Annual Report

/ Categories: Research, Annual Reports

It is the mission of Florida TaxWatch to provide the taxpayers of Florida and public officials with high-quality, independent research and analysis of issues related to state and local government taxation, expenditures, policies, and programs. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on residents and businesses.

What’s Next: Hurricane Ian Recovery

/ Categories: Research, Hurricane Ian, Blog

On October 26, 2022, Florida TaxWatch hosted a discussion of subject matter experts to gain insight as to how Florida will overcome the impacts of Hurricane Ian as residents rebuild their homes, infrastructure, businesses, and finances. The discussion highlighted actions already taken to support residents, as well as challenges left for Florida to resolve. The Florida TaxWatch team was joined by Eve Rainey, the Executive Director of the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association; Kari Hebrank, Senior Governmental Consultant with Carlton Fields; and Fred E. Karlinsky, co-chair of the Insurance and Regulatory Transaction Practice at Greenberg Traurig. The discussion was moderated by Florida TaxWatch Senior Vice President of Research Bob Nave.

A Key to Overcoming Disasters: Complete Census Data Reinforces Resiliency

/ Categories: Research, Census, Economic Development, Hurricane Ian

Florida beaches are a treasure to the state, and as such, many residents strive to remain in close proximity to the shoreline. Statewide, 64.2 percent of employment and 79.2 percent of businesses are found within Florida’s 35 coastal counties.1 Unfortunately, the luring lifestyle of beaches comes at a cost; the homes and livelihoods of most Floridians are tied to areas susceptible to hurricane havoc.

12345678910Last

Stay Up To Date

Join the Florida TaxWatch mailing list and keep yourself informed.

Archive