For the past five years, Florida TaxWatch has published an annual review that has analyzed the most recent year’s employment figures. As December comes to a close and the New Year is upon us, TaxWatch looks to assess how our job market fared in 2015.
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.
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.
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.
Thanksgiving for most people invokes images of family gatherings, turkey, and football. But for retailers, it invokes images of large crowds and dollar signs. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are cash cows for businesses, particularly the retail and food industries. Those days are also
important for Florida, as the state will collect a six percent sales and use tax on most of the retail goods purchased by shoppers and some grocery items, but will fail to collect lawfully owed taxes on many items purchased online during Cyber Monday.
Presented to the Bond Oversight Committee on November 23, 2015, this report examines the SMART program quarterly report for Q1.
In this study, Florida TaxWatch evaluates the two primary issues contributing to, and subsequently worsened by the increased demand on the system: workforce instability and increasing need for services. The study concludes by recommending that the state examine options that improve service accessibility and availability and enhance workforce stability.
Given the diverse economic benefits provided by manufacturing, it is in the state’s best interest to continue to foster growth in this sector, and Florida lags behind compared to other Southern states. But while most Southern states provide broad tax exemptions for manufacturing equipment, Florida’s most important exemption to encourage capital investment in manufacturing will sunset in April 2017. The analysis in this report demonstrates that extending the exemption could provide a significant economic benefit to the state, and its manufacturing industry.
Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for
FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion.
Despite advances in delivery methods, new medical schools, and its emergence as a global medical destination, Florida’s healthcare system is facing a significant challenge, as the demand for doctors in the state of Florida is outpacing the current supply. This issue affects not only Florida’s healthcare system, it can also have repercussions on the economy.
This quick look at taxes on candy and other treats in Florida includes a look at how Florida compares to the rest of the US.
A reduction in the BRT would be broad-based, benefiting a large number of businesses. All businesses that rent commercial real estate pay the sales tax on those rents, regardless of their profitability or financial shape. Reducing the sales tax would help be a significant help to struggling companies. It would also help new businesses, who may find that other startup costs rule out purchasing real estate as an option.
Over the past few years Florida’s economy has been on the rise, finally shaking off the economic pain from the great recession. This positive growth has helped stimulate development in South Florida in particular. In a recent survey, more than 80% of small businesses in South Florida reported that they
expect to meet or exceed their 2015 revenue targets. And the economic growth is not limited to small businesses; the South Florida Region has also seen a growth in sectors such as construction, financial services, innovation, and more.
It is estimated that the 2016 Florida Legislature will have a budget surplus for FY2016-17, meaning major budget cuts should not be needed and there should be some money left over for new initiatives. After funding a continuation budget, including expected cost increases in current programs and other
historically funded items, it is anticipated that there will be $635.4 million (including an allowance for $1 billion in cash reserves) in General Revenue (GR) left over.
This annual publication takes a look at how Florida stacks up to the nation in terms of educational enrollment, outcomes, and investment.
More than just boasting and claiming bragging rights, success on the field can actually affect a school’s academic standing off the field. Studies have shown that a school’s successful athletic program can have a positive impact on a university’s exposure, attracting students to the university, as well as increasing application, retention, and graduation rates.
Presented to the Bond Oversight Committee on August 31, 2015, this report details the best practices of successful bond oversight committees across the country. If implemented, the recommended best practices will ensure that the Committee is held to a hig
This report, the third in the last two years on the subject from TaxWatch, looks at the next steps for policy changes in Florida, and compares Florida's policies with those of California, Texas, and New York.
State economists predict lawmakers will have $657.5 million more than previously anticipated for the next state budget. The latest General Revenue (GR) forecast shows the state's GR fund is expected to reach $31.6 billion for the 2016-17 budget year. The growing available funds mean recurring revenues exceed current recurring expenses by $1.6 billion.
Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2015-16 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2015. We hope this annual budget pocket guide gives you the information you need to better understand where and how your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.
In the past 12 months, the Sunshine State has experienced a 3.4 percent increase in non-farm employment with positive gains month-to-month, and has seen a steady drop in its unemployment rate. This report looks at the numbers.
Ask most people which city in the U.S. is the largest, and you will likely hear New York, or Los Angeles, or one of the other “major” cities around the country. The truth, however, is that the largest city in the country is Jacksonville, Florida, at 874.6 square miles. While the size of Jacksonville may not be well known, even fewer may realize that the city is a rising star of startup activity and job creation.
Despite lawmakers' efforts to increase transparency while crafting the 2015-16 Florida state budget, 189 projects worth $167 million were inserted into the budget without sufficient public scrutiny, or circumventing established budget processes, and found their way to the Budget Turkey Watch list.
Lawmakers return to Tallahassee next week to finish budget negotiations, but will have to resolve more than differences in healthcare spending. The May edition of Budget Watch outlines the scope of the Special Session, noting that lawmakers will also consider conforming bills ranging from transportation networks to child welfare agencies.
Florida's world-renowned, $10 billion citrus industry is an important sector of the state economy, providing thousands of jobs and capital to agricultural regions. As the nation's largest supplier of citrus, the success of this industry is vital to Florida's diversified economy.