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.
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).
Guest Column By Josiah Neeley
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.
Florida has remained in good financial standing this past fiscal year. This is also true of the state’s debt position. FY 2021-22 marks the ninth consecutive year with a debt ratio below the six percent target established by the Legislature. In addition:
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.
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.
On Wednesday, August 31, Florida TaxWatch hosted a webinar “Demographic Data for Businesses & the Census” to discuss Florida’s population undercount in the 2020 Census, the impact this has on the business community, and efforts to secure more accurate data. During our webinar, we were joined by Mary Jo Hoeksema, Co-director of the Census Project; Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Founder and Director of Census Legacies; Susan Racher, Vice President and CFO of Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; and Ashley Dietz, President and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network.
Guest Column by State Representative Patt Maney
Patt Maney is a retired brigadier general and former county court judge who has represented District 4 (Part of Okaloosa) in the Florida House of Representatives since 2020. Reforming Florida’s civil commitment laws was one of his primary motivators for seeking legislative office because as a judge, he presided over Baker Act hearings and witnessed the law’s various shortcomings.
On Wednesday, August 17, Florida TaxWatch and the Gunster law firm co-hosted a webinar designed to help Florida businesses better understand and comply with the requirements of the Individual Freedom Act (also known as the “Stop WOKE” Act) passed by the 2022 Florida Legislature. Florida TaxWatch is grateful to Holly Goodman and Joseph Santoro of the Gunster law firm for sharing their insights on the effects of this controversial legislation on Florida businesses. Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present the following summary of the webinar.
When the pandemic began the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended free meals to school-age children all year long, including the summer months. The program will no longer be available at the end of this school year and many food insecure families are now facing a summer without school food assistance programs. The situation is made even more dire as inflation and the cost-of-living soars, leaving millions of individuals and families in critical need of year-round nutritional assistance.