An analysis of the transparency and accountability of the budget process
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.
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.
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.
On November 8, 2022, Floridians will vote on three legislatively referred proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. At least 60 percent of the voters must vote in the affirmative for a proposed amendment to pass. This Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide is designed to provide Florida voters with information about each of the proposed amendments to help them cast well-informed votes.
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.
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
Here is what Florida TaxWatch thinks the Legislature should do.
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.
Fiscally, Florida is in good condition. This is also true of the state’s debt position. FY 2020-21 marks the eighth consecutive year with a debt ratio below the 6 percent target.
Have you ever wondered how Florida’s taxes stack up against the taxes in other states? If so, this report is for you.
2022 Legislature Heads into Session with a $7 Billion Budget Surplus
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.