Tourism plays a major role in Florida’s economic strength. More than 142 million tourists are expected to visit Florida in 2023. In 2019, 131 million visitors spent nearly $100 billion, supporting 1.6 million Florida jobs that paid $57 billion in wages. The spending generated $12.7 billion in state and local taxes. Without the state and local taxes generated by tourism, each Florida household would have to pay as much as $1,420 in additional taxes just to maintain the current level of government services.
Opinion Editorial by Dominic Calabro, President & CEO of Florida TaxWatch
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of access to reliable and affordable broadband Internet service in our daily lives, which makes available an almost limitless amount of information; provides a platform for education, health care, and commerce; and facilitates family connections, social communication, and idea sharing. What’s more, public and private agencies alike offer critical services and regular updates for citizens through online programs.
Guest Column By Josiah Neeley
Florida has a diverse and beautiful natural environment, ranging from the Everglades to the beaches of the Florida panhandle. The state is also vulnerable to a variety of extreme weather events, such as flooding and hurricanes, which are projected to become more severe in the coming decades due to climate change. Protecting the state against these events could be a costly undertaking. Various proposals seek to minimize the risks through new infrastructure projects such as sea walls. But in deciding how best to adapt to extreme weather risk, Florida should be sure to consider using the state’s “natural infrastructure” to protect itself in a less costly and more sustainable way.
Guest Column By Josiah Neeley
Florida’s homeowners insurance market is in the emergency room on life support. Homeowners and insurance agents across the state struggle to obtain reasonably priced homeowners insurance. In 2022, the average annual premium for a homeowners insurance policy was $4,231, close to three times the U.S. average of $1,544, and nearly twice Florida’s $2,505 average just two years ago. In 2023, premiums are on track to climb even higher. The Florida state legislature held two special sessions in 2022 focused on making insurance more available and affordable. Although the meetings helped raise lawmakers’ awareness of the cause of the crisis and introduced measures to arrest further market deterioration, reasonably priced insurance is expected to remain hard to find in 2023.
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.