Relative to other states, Florida’s state tax burden is lower than average, but its local burden is higher than average.
Compared to other states, Floridians’ combined state and local government revenue burden now ranks 26th per capita.
Total property tax levies in Florida more than doubled in the eight years between 1998 and 2006 but now have fallen 21.2% from 2008 to 2012.
As property taxes fall, local governments turn to other revenue sources.When property tax revenue fell 14.6% from 2009 to 2011, special assessments rose 8.5%.
Florida is one of seven states without a personal income tax.
Transaction taxes (sales and excise taxes) make up 83% of Florida’s state tax collections, compared to the national average of 49%.
The combined state and local communications services tax Floridians pay on telecommunications and cable television can exceed 16%.
Florida taxes alcoholic beverages and utilities heavier than average and when local taxes are included, Florida’s top gas tax rate is the nation’s fourth highest.
Florida relies more heavily than any other state on local governments to fund the state’s needs. More than half of all government “own source” revenue in Florida is collected at the local level.
State and local taxes take 9.3% of Floridians’ personal income and all state and local revenue takes 14.8%, compared to the national average of 10.2% and 15.1% respectively.
Floridians work 110 out of 365 days a year, or 2 hours and 24 minutes of a 8-hour work day, to pay all federal, state and local taxes.
Federal taxes make up the lion’s share of Floridians’ total tax bill – 66%.
Floridians will contribute $234 billion in taxes to federal, state and local governments in 2012, $16 billion more than last year.
Paying taxes is the single largest expense incurred by citizens—more than food, housing and clothing combined.
Florida’s per capita property tax burden is the 10th highest in the nation.
Average millage rates in Florida range from 24.55 to 10.58.
Per capita property tax levies in Florida range from $347 in Homes County to $2,842 in Monroe County.
“You can believe TaxWatch.” St. Petersburg Times Editorial
“We did a lot of good for the taxpayers this
legislative session and Florida TaxWatch was a big part of that. I appreciate
all you do to ensure Floridians get the best return for their tax dollars.” – Governor Rick Scott
“I view Florida TaxWatch as a vital partner in reshaping
government’s role, strategies, and approach to work.” – Former Gov. Jeb Bush
“I appreciate the professionalism, expertise, and careful study with
which TaxWatch does its work.” Representative Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda
“Florida TaxWatch has been laser-focused on tax policies to
stimulate business investment and create jobs.” – Florida TaxWatch Chairman Marshall
valuable about TaxWatch's approach is that it focuses not solely on saving
money but also on improving government.”
Tampa Tribune editorial
“We appreciate the work of TaxWatch as we do others who aren’t
just complaining, but are coming up with ideas to save money.” – Sen. J.D. Alexander,Chair of the Senate
“The contribution of Florida TaxWatch is
unparalleled in the history of Florida government…You
share the desire to achieve productivity – not through bar graphs and
PERT charts, but through people.” Former
Governor Bob Graham
“Heed TaxWatch” - Miami Herald
always important to have a level of conscience out there in asking 'Are we
doing this right?' and 'Are we spending wisely here?'. We congratulate Florida TaxWatch for
your efforts.” Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, Chairman of the Prudential Davis
Productivity Awards program at Florida TaxWatch
“Fortunately for the legislators, TaxWatch
already has done much of their work for them.” Orlando Sentinel editorial on the 2011 Florida
TaxWatch Government Cost Savings Task Force report
"Florida TaxWatch is a great watchdog for the state of Florida and
has given us great innovative ideas. You are proactive and your research is
second to none. I’ve enjoyed
working with you.” Rep. Will Weatherford, House Speaker Designate
“Florida TaxWatch (is) the respected
non-partisan group that bloodies special interests on both sides of the
partisan divide in Tallahassee in casting a critical eye on state spending.” Pensacola News-Journal Editorial
you for your unrelenting commitment to improving Florida government and
increasing taxpayer value.” - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Former Florida House Speaker
“These TaxWatch cost savings have been extremely valuable to us.
Thank you, Florida TaxWatch for meeting with us and challenging us to spend wisely
with accountability and success.” –
Chief Financial Officer & former Senate President Jeff Atwater
“The state is undoubtedly more healthy and
prosperous because TaxWatch has been on the job. It has been an honest watchdog in
warning of abuses, a credible guide dog in finding thrifty solutions to
problems, and a tireless bird dog in making sure taxpayers get their money’s
worth.” Tampa Tribune editorial
“A government which can hold the line on
unnecessary spending will hold the line on premature taxes.” Florida TaxWatch Co-Founder Philip
Lewis, former President of the Florida Senate
“Thank you for the
fantastic work that you do week after week, month after month, year after
year.” – former Florida CFO Alex Sink
“Florida TaxWatch offers a dose of reality
therapy.” - Tallahassee Democrat editorial
“Florida TaxWatch’s forward thinking ideas are
aimed at stimulating Florida’s economy and eliminating bureaucratic waste.” –
Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon
“As a native Floridian, I think your organization is
the BEST thing going for all of us!”
Dennis Wolfson, Jacksonville developer
“Florida TaxWatch brings an expertise in
government financing and operations that likely exists nowhere else outside of
government budget offices.”
Pensacola News Journal Editorial
“Someone must be prepared to challenge the
assumptions, conclusions and rewards that drive government spending.” Florida TaxWatch Co-Founder J.E.
Davis, former Chairman, Winn-Dixie Stores
“I’m extremely grateful for the work that Florida
TaxWatch has done and its valuable contributions to education.” – Jim Warford, former Chancellor of K-12
“Lawmakers should follow TaxWatch's counsel.” Tampa Tribune editorial
“If government productivity is to be
effective, it depends on an enlightened public that demands results.” Florida TaxWatch Co-Founder and Chairman
Emeritus Mark Hollis, former President and Vice Chairman, Publix Super Markets
TaxWatch (is) an unrelenting champion of fiscal conservatism in state
government.” Orlando Sentinel
columnist Fred Grimm
“Florida TaxWatch is a highly respected
organization that facilitates good government, offers timely advice, and
presents insightful research that gets results.” Former Governor Lawton Chiles
“Florida TaxWatch has long been a leader in bringing spending
efficiencies to government, with a track record of success.” – Pensacola News Journal
name of TaxWatch is attached to something, we pay attention to it at the
Capitol. Your work will
benefit the taxpayers of Florida for decades.” Former Lt. Governor Jeff
“The wonderful thing about this group is that you represent a
variety of ideologies and political parties, but you do not let them divide
you. We should hold our politicians
to the same standard in Tallahassee.” – former Florida Congressman Jim
“Florida TaxWatch’s report on the Prudential-Davis Productivity
Awards should be required reading for every state and local official.” – Tampa Tribune
“Florida TaxWatch’s accomplishments and
contributions have been invaluable to all Floridians.” Former Governor Bob Martinez
“These Florida TaxWatch reports provide the reason for legislators
to do the right thing so they can say ‘I voted this way because TaxWatch made
the case’”. – Wogie Badcock, Executive VP, Badcock Furniture and a Florida TaxWatch member
“Florida TaxWatch (is) ... an unrelenting champion of fiscal
conservatism in state government.” – Orlando Sentinel
“Very few people stand up for the people
in the state who have to pay taxes.
Time and time again you have focused on the fact that the dollars they
spend are not voluntary and found ways to reduce the taxes and spending. Thank you for what you do.” Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux
“There are several ways to respond to a
budget crisis: raise taxes, cut spending, complain about the cuts and oppose
them, or scour the budget and find creative ways to save money. TaxWatch
has clearly done the latter.”
– Florida House Speaker Dean
“Most of what TaxWatch proposes offers ways to generate savings by
improving efficiency or eliminating needless expenses, not cutting programs.” Tampa Tribune editorial on the 2011 Florida
TaxWatch Government Cost Savings Task Force
“Florida’s most important advocate for
taxpayers.” – Former State Senator Pat Neal, President, Neal Communities
and a Florida TaxWatch member
must be prepared to challenge the assumptions, conclusions and rewards that
drive government spending. A
representative democracy is only good as long as people like you and me work at
it to make it better. Florida
TaxWatch has been a good steward of the people and businesses of this
state. Its objective is credible
and it gets substantial results.” -
J.E. Davis, founding member, 1907-1993
“Florida TaxWatch's budget recommendations are
always worth scrutiny, and with the economy still in the doldrums, Gov. Rick
Scott and lawmakers should welcome its just-released report offering $4.1
billion in cost savings.” Tampa
“Florida TaxWatch is the heavyweight on the street in Florida when
you talk about oversight of government.” Al Zichella, Vice President, KD Merick & Co. and a Florida TaxWatch member
“Five years ago I was in the Bahamas and my husband and I were
reading the Florida TaxWatch reports on remote sales tax collection on our
vacation. That’s how much it means
to me.” Maggie Zalamea, Government Relations Director, Broward Teachers Union
“…a premier tax
watchdog group, respected for its conservatism and fiscal frugality.” Lakeland
“You are heroes to me for what you do in
the state - we could use your pencils, minds, and courage up in Washington.”
Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux