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Thanksgiving and the Start of Holiday Shopping

11/2015 // Thanksgiving for most people invokes images of family gatherings, turkey, and football. But for retailers, it invokes images of large crowds and dollar signs. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are cash cows for businesses, particularly the retail and food industries. Those days are also important for Florida, as the state will collect a six percent sales and use tax on most of the retail goods purchased by shoppers and some grocery items, but will fail to collect lawfully owed taxes on many items purchased online during Cyber Monday.

Challenges Facing Florida's Community-Based Child Welfare System

11/2015 // In this study, Florida TaxWatch evaluates the two primary issues contributing to, and subsequently worsened by the increased demand on the system: workforce instability and increasing need for services. The study concludes by recommending that the state examine options that improve service accessibility and availability and enhance workforce stability.

Extending the Manufacturing Machinery & Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

11/2015 // Given the diverse economic benefits provided by manufacturing, it is in the state’s best interest to continue to foster growth in this sector, and Florida lags behind compared to other Southern states. But while most Southern states provide broad tax exemptions for manufacturing equipment, Florida’s most important exemption to encourage capital investment in manufacturing will sunset in April 2017. The analysis in this report demonstrates that extending the exemption could provide a significant economic benefit to the state, and its manufacturing industry.

Budget Watch - 2016-17 Legislative Budget Requests

10/2015 // Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion.

Stemming Florida's Physician Shortage

10/2015 // Despite advances in delivery methods, new medical schools, and its emergence as a global medical tourism destination, Florida’s healthcare system is facing a significant challenge, as the demand for doctors in the state of Florida is outpacing the current supply. This issue affects not only Florida’s healthcare system, it can also have repercussions on the economy.

Halloween in Florida: Are Taxes on Candy a Trick, or a Treat?

10/2015 // This quick look at taxes on candy and other treats in Florida includes a look at how Florida compares to the rest of the US.

Economy Heating Up in South Florida

09/2015 // Over the past few years Florida’s economy has been on the rise, finally shaking off the economic pain from the great recession. This positive growth has helped stimulate development in South Florida in particular. In a recent survey, more than 80% of small businesses in South Florida reported that they expect to meet or exceed their 2015 revenue targets. And the economic growth is not limited to small businesses; the South Florida Region has also seen a growth in sectors such as construction, financial services, innovation, and more.

Budget Watch - Projected Surplus Not As Large As It Seems

09/2015 // It is estimated that the 2016 Florida Legislature will have a budget surplus for FY2016-17, meaning major budget cuts should not be needed and there should be some money left over for new initiatives. After funding a continuation budget, including expected cost increases in current programs and other historically funded items, it is anticipated that there will be $635.4 million (including an allowance for $1 billion in cash reserves) in General Revenue (GR) left over.

2015 How Florida Compares - Education

09/2015 // This annual publication takes a look at how Florida stacks up to the nation in terms of educational enrollment, outcomes, and investment.

Trophies and Transcripts

08/2015 // More than just boasting and claiming bragging rights, success on the field can actually affect a school’s academic standing off the field. Studies have shown that a school’s successful athletic program can have a positive impact on a university’s exposure, attracting students to the university, as well as increasing application, retention, and graduation rates.

Moving Telehealth Forward: The High Costs of Paying Later

08/2015 // This report, the third in the last two years on the subject from TaxWatch, looks at the next steps for policy changes in Florida, and compares Florida's policies with those of California, Texas, and New York.

Budget Watch - General Revenue Forecast for FY 2016-17

08/2015 // State economists predict lawmakers will have $657.5 million more than previously anticipated for the next state budget. The latest General Revenue (GR) forecast shows the state's GR fund is expected to reach $31.6 billion for the 2016-17 budget year. The growing available funds mean recurring revenues exceed current recurring expenses by $1.6 billion.

Florida's 2015 Mid-Year Job Growth

07/2015 // In the past 12 months, the Sunshine State has experienced a 3.4 percent increase in non-farm employment with positive gains month-to-month, and has seen a steady drop in its unemployment rate. This report looks at the numbers.

Jacksonville Poised for Sustained Growth

06/2015 // Ask most people which city in the U.S. is the largest, and you will likely hear New York, or Los Angeles, or one of the other “major” cities around the country. The truth, however, is that the largest city in the country is Jacksonville, Florida, at 874.6 square miles. While the size of Jacksonville may not be well known, even fewer may realize that the city is a rising star of startup activity and job creation.

2015 Budget Turkey Watch Report

06/2015 // Despite lawmakers' efforts to increase transparency while crafting the 2015-16 Florida state budget, 189 projects worth $167 million were inserted into the budget without sufficient public scrutiny, or circumventing established budget processes, and found their way to the Budget Turkey Watch list.

Budget Watch - 2015 Special Session Preview

05/2015 // Lawmakers return to Tallahassee next week to finish budget negotiations, but will have to resolve more than differences in healthcare spending. The May edition of Budget Watch outlines the scope of the Special Session, noting that lawmakers will also consider conforming bills ranging from transportation networks to child welfare agencies.

Squeezing the Greening out of Florida Citrus

05/2015 // Florida's world-renowned, $10 billion citrus industry is an important sector of the state economy, providing thousands of jobs and capital to agricultural regions. As the nation's largest supplier of citrus, the success of this industry is vital to Florida's diversified economy.

Could Florida Be The Next High-Tech Hub?

05/2015 // A Central Florida technology research center could help launch the state's high-tech manufacturing industry and ignite economic growth. The development of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center through the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research will help create, develop and support high-tech Florida companies producing smart sensor technologies for high-tech manufacturing goods.

2015 Legislative Wrap-up

05/2015 // The annual TaxWatch Legislative Update recaps legislative action on TaxWatch priority issues.

2015 How Florida Compares: Taxes

04/2015 // Florida has always had the reputation of being a low tax state. While this common perception is borne out by the newest available data contained in this report, the full picture is more complicated. This report provides detailed tax ranking information for Florida as compared to the rest of the nation.

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