For the past three years, 10 Florida universities and research institutions have been focused on researching the long-term effects of the BP oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico's marine life, environment, and public health. This month's Economic Commentary focuses on three Florida university-led entities' recent research findings and developments, and how these findings make our state stand out in the scientific arena.
This Session Spotlight focuses on legislation that adds structure and accountability to the states early learning programs and the Department of Education.
Sunday, April 21, is Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2013, as estimated by Florida TaxWatch. On that day, Floridians are finally earning money for themselvesâ€“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.
According to this Briefing, progress on the organization of state-owned lands and facilities records has been made, although there is more to be done. The large, yet basic database has been established, but the important tasks of maintaining its relevance and making improvements remain. Phase II of this project offers significant taxpayer value.
Encouraging an increase in manufacturing would allow Florida to further diversify its economy and produce more high-wage jobs for Floridians. The Florida Legislature can help diversify Florida's economy and create more high-wage jobs by eliminating the sales and use tax on machinery and equipment for manufacturing.
Repealing an insurance premium tax credit that was designed to encourage insurance company jobs in Florida without fully assessing the impacts would be unwise, according to this Briefing from Florida TaxWatch.
This Session Spotlight looks at the three pathways being debated in the proposed legislation, and how each track can help students achieve their goals through targeted coursework. The Spotlight also points out that both bills could be strengthened through increased attention to more rigorous English Language Arts assessments and professional training for teachers.
A centralized agency with sufficient authority to set and implement enterprise-wide information technology is long overdue. Florida TaxWatch commends the Senate and the House for understanding the importance of technology governance and encourages the Legislature to establish a centralized State agency responsible for IT and business processes, with the necessary authority, as recommended by the Florida TaxWatch Government Cost Savings Task Force.
According to this Briefing, When the Legislature wants to sweep a trust fund, it should be required to introduce a separate general bill for each trust fund sweep. This would allow input from legislators and testimony from concerned parties, and require an up or down vote on each sweep.