State General Revenue Estimates Increase Again

CURRENT YEAR SURPLUS NOW $8.8 BILLION

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The August 18 General Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) increased Florida’s general revenue projections by $1.567 billion (3.6 percent) in the current budget year and $1.203 billion (2.6 percent) in FY2024-25--a two-year total of $2.770 billion.  Add in the $1.084 billion that actual collections exceeded the previous estimate in the last four months of FY2022-23, and the Legislature has an additional $3.854 billion available for next state budget.  The new estimate accounts for the $1 billion reduction in revenues from 2023 tax relief and other legislative changes. 

2023 Budget Turkey Watch Report

An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process

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

This is the Florida TaxWatch annual independent review of Florida’s FY2023-24 budget process. The report was started in 1983 and promotes oversight and integrity in the state’s budgeting process based on the principle that: because money appropriated by the Legislature belongs to the taxpayers of Florida, the process must be thorough, thoughtful, transparent, and accountable.  Every appropriation should receive proper deliberation and public scrutiny.  This includes member-requested projects.  

$670 Million Added to the New State Budget Through the Sprinkle Lists Deserves Close Scrutiny During the Governor’s Veto Deliberations

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Budget Turkeys

Florida’s new state budget for FY2023-24 carries a price tag of $117.0 billion, which is a 6.2 percent increase over current spending. The budget also contains a few billion dollars in spending that is technically appropriated for FY2022-23, so it is not included in the $117.0 billion total. 

Budget Sprinkle Lists Diminish Confidence in the Budget Process and Should Be Discontinued

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Budget Turkeys

Ten years ago, the Legislature began a budgeting practice that is not in the interest of sound budgeting, transparency, thoughtful deliberation, or the taxpayers of Florida. The practice in question is the introduction of Supplemental Funding lists. These have - come to be commonly known, and even referred to by legislators, as the “Sprinkle Lists” – as in the “sprinkling” of millions of additional dollars for appropriations projects around the state at the last-minute during budget conference. 

The What, Why, and How of the Florida TaxWatch Budget Turkey Watch Report

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Budget Turkeys

The annual Florida TaxWatch Budget Turkey Watch Report was started in 1983 and promotes oversight and integrity in the state’s budgeting process. The report identifies appropriations that circumvent proper review, transparency, and accountability standards and is presented to the Governor for inclusion in his or her veto considerations

Water Turkeys: Despite Increased Funding for Florida’s Water Resources and the Creation of New Competitive Grants Processes, Local Member Earmarks are Proliferating

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Budget Turkeys

Florida has been making very large investments in the protection and restoration of the state’s water resources. On his second day in office, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order making water a top priority. The Executive Order called for funding of $2.5 billion over four years—$625 million a year—to significantly expedite Everglades restoration and enhance the protection of our water systems. This goal was surpassed, with $3.3 billion appropriated by the Florida Legislature in the last four years for specific key water funding in addition to hundreds of millions more in water-related appropriations also in the state budget.

BudgetWatch: New General Revenue Estimates Add $7 Billion for the Next Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

In what has been a regular occurrence, the Florida General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference significantly increased the estimate of the amount of GR that will be collected. This is the sixth conference in a row that has produced a rosier revenue forecast. The last reduced estimate came at the August 2020 conference, just as the coronavirus pandemic began its relatively short-lived slowdown of Florida’s revenue collections.

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.

Budget Watch – How Will the 2023 Legislature Handle a Record $13.5 Billion Budget Surplus?

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

As Florida TaxWatch has been detailing in our Budget Watch series,1 the state’s fiscal circumstances have been steadily improving since the initial shock (and resultant revenue loss) at the beginning of the pandemic. Even with historic state spending and tax cuts over the last two budgets, record reserves still exist. Florida’s tax system continues to produce revenue at a breakneck pace, with actual collections beating the estimate in each month over the last two year. Lately, the magnitude of the overage has been staggering. In the last three months of FY2021-22 (April-June), collections exceeded estimates by $2.545 billion (23.9 percent).

FY2021-22 Revenue Collections Beat Estimate by $3.8 Billion

New General Revenue Estimates Add Another $5.3 Billion to Amount Available for the Next Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on August 16, 2022, to develop the state’s new forecast for general revenue (GR) collections. After the close of FY2021-22, which wildly exceed revenue expectations, the REC increased the estimates for FY2022-23 and 2023-24 by a total of $5.3 billion.

ARE BIG PROPERTY VALUE INCREASES GOING TO MEAN BIG TAX INCREASES?

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps

Florida’s housing market is raging, with growth in property values not seen since the housing bubble. Property appraisers certified the state’s taxable value for 2022 on July 1 and these values are currently being used by local governments and school districts in setting new property tax rates and developing budgets for FY 2022-23. The growth in property values has set the stage for what could be significant tax increases for Florida’s citizens and businesses.

Florida's FY2022-23 State Budget

Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2022-23 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2022. The report includes all appropriations for the new fiscal year— the General Appropriations Act (GAA), “back-of-bill” spending, and general bills—net of the Governor’s vetoes.

2022 Budget Turkey Watch

An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Budget Turkeys

The $112.1 billion budget passed by the Florida Legislature for FY2022-23 contains 166 appropriations items worth $281.0 million qualifying as Budget Turkeys. These are only a portion of the record-setting more than 1,200 member projects in the new budget worth $2.8 billion. In addition, the Legislature created a new program to allow members to request at least $80 million in additional local projects from the federal State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

2022 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 2022 legislative session is over, even if it ran a little long. Florida TaxWatch and the state’s taxpayers had a number of successes. Many bills and budget issues supported by our research and recommendations passed. Our research and input that raised concerns with legislation, helped to improve them or fail passage, including changes to the tax audit system and a very costly approach to improving data privacy

HOUSE AND SENATE BUDGET PROPOSALS ARE $3.3 BILLION APART

There are Plenty of Issues to Negotiate

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The House and Senate have passed their respective budgets and now must hold budget conference meetings to hammer out the differences. An agreement must be reached on every number and every word in the 400-plus page appropriations bill. Budget negotiations are never easy and this year will be no exception, even with so much money available.

New General Revenue Estimates Add Another $4.0 Billion to Amount Available for the Next Budget

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

With state coffers already swelling, the General Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on January 21, 2022, to develop the state’s new forecast for general revenue (GR) collections. This is the revenue estimate that the 2022 Legislature will use for the new FY2022-23 state budget. The REC increased its estimate for GR collections by $3.3 billion in the current year (FY2021-22) and by $704 million in FY 2022-23. This means lawmakers have another $4 billion available to spend. Florida was already in its best fiscal shape in history.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in Florida’s future

Here is what Florida TaxWatch thinks the Legislature should do.

/ Categories: Budget/Approps, Economic Development, Taxpayer Guide, In the News

The 2022 legislative session begins today and, despite the pandemic, Florida is in an enviable fiscal position. The state’s current budget is record in size, as are our budget reserves. Revenue collections are back above pre-pandemic levels, and this Legislature will have even more money available for the next budget cycle, made possible by both strong economic performance and billions in unappropriated federal funds.

THE GOVERNOR’S FY 2022-23 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS

With Flush State Coffers, the Governor’s Budget Would Make Significant Investments While Leaving Billions in the Bank

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

As the Florida TaxWatch Budget Watch series1 has been detailing, the budget outlook for the state is extremely rosy. Governor DeSantis’s 2022-23 budget recommendations reflect the current fiscal environment. It totals $99.7 billion and just like the current budget, the price tag does not fully account for all the spending it contains.

Florida Will Receive Billions From The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, But Is It The State’s Fair Share?

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Budget/Approps, Transportation

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA),1 signed by President Biden on November 15, 2021, will make a significant investment in the nation’s transportation system and other infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be distributed to the states for a wide range of projects, including all modes of transportation, broadband, cyber security, water infrastructure, energy, climate change, resiliency, and pollution mitigation. Florida will get a sizable chunk of these funds.

Budget Watch - FLORIDA GENERAL REVENUE COLLECTIONS HAVE OUTPACED ESTIMATES FOR 14 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps

The Florida TaxWatch Budget Watch series has been detailing the rapid recovery of the state government’s revenue collections from the initial precipitous drop in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have highlighted how current General Revenue (GR) estimates are back above the last pre-pandemic estimates. Coupled with billions of dollars in federal aid, Florida is in enviable fiscal shape as the Legislature heads into the 2022 Regular Session.

Navigating Federal Pandemic Relief: Following billions in stimulus dollars, where do we go from here?

/ Categories: Research, COVID Recovery, Budget/Approps

The massive amount of federal funding provided in the six stimulus acts provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve Florida and fund programs and infrastructure that have had long-standing backlogs with few past feasible opportunities to address to this degree.

Budget Watch - What a Difference a Year Makes

2022 Legislature Heads into Session with a $7 Billion Budget Surplus

/ Categories: Research, Budget/Approps, Taxpayer Guide

Last year, COVID-19’s arrival in Florida and the attendant economic shutdown had state forecasters—and virtually everyone else--predicting gloomy fiscal times for Florida. The 2020 legislative Long-Range Financial Outlook estimated that the 2021 Legislature would be facing a budget shortfall of $2.7 billion, and without significant spending cuts, the shortfalls would continue for at least two more years.

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