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Taxpayer Independence Day 2016

04/2016 // Wednesday, April 20 Florida TaxWatch celebrates Florida Taxpayer Independence Day 2016: the day Floridians are finally earning money for themselves and not for the tax collector. This symbolic date assumes that every dollar earned since January 1 goes to pay federal, state, and local tax obligations. In 2015, for the average Florida household, paying its taxes takes 110 out of 365 days, or more than three and a half months.


2016 Session Wrap-Up

04/2016 // This session saw a number of bills that advanced Florida TaxWatch recommendations become law. This publication is a final look at the legislation followed by TaxWatch this Session.


Unemployment Rate Is Not The Whole Story

03/2016 // One key metric that is widely overlooked in the unemployment rate discussion is the labor force participation rate (LFPR), which measures the percentage of the total population aged 16 and above who are currently employed or are unemployed and actively seeking employment. While overlooked, the LFPR is one of the most important metrics to understanding the overall landscape of the job markets.


2016 Budget Turkey Watch Report

03/2016 // Each year, the Budget Turkey Report consists of only a very small percentage of the state budget and this year represented just over 0.1 percent. The $82.3 billion budget passed by the Florida House and Senate on March 11, 2016 contains 143 appropriations items worth $104.9 million qualifying as Budget Turkeys.


2016 How Florida Compares: Taxes

03/2016 // Have you ever wondered how Florida’s taxes stack up against the taxes in other states? If so, this report is for you. The annual Florida TaxWatch How Florida Compares: Taxes report ranks Florida’s state and local taxes against those levied around the nation.


Pumping Savings into the Economy

02/2016 // There are very few products or services that impact, in one way or another, nearly every consumer in the United States. One product that does is gasoline. This Economic Commentary focuses on the impact of the reduction in oil prices on the U.S. and Florida consumers.


Welcoming the World

02/2016 // Tourism is vital to the economy of Florida, and with the recovery of the world economy, international travel across the world is reaching record highs. This, coupled with data showing the major positive impact international tourists have on economies, provides evidence that Florida should expand its efforts when it comes to attracting foreign visitors to the state.


Budget Watch - Proposed House and Senate Budgets for FY2016-17 are $1 Billion Apart

02/2016 // The House and Senate passed their respective state budgets for FY2016-17 with four weeks remaining in the 2016 Session. They will now go into the budget conference process to negotiate the differences. Conference meetings could start as early as this week (the week of February 22).


A Catalyst for Growth

02/2016 // This analysis finds that Florida’s competitive tax climate and welcoming weather entice businesses to our state, but Florida must provide targeted incentive packages that will help create high-paying jobs in the Sunshine State as we compete with other states for domestic and global business.


Building Florida's High-Tech Manufacturing Sector

02/2016 // As the global manufacturing industry shifts away from classically portrayed steel and car plants to a modernized approach of high-tech manufacturing; companies, countries, and states find themselves looking for a way to best position themselves to benefit from the future of manufacturing. Florida finds itself in a unique position to capitalize on an existing project that could help the state become a world leader in high-tech manufacturing for years to come.


Meeting Florida's Transportation Investment Needs

02/2016 // Florida continues to grow and is now the nation’s third largest state. After a slowdown during the Great Recession, Florida is on the rise again, and the state will add more than four million new residents by 2030. This report examines the expected needs of the transportation system across the state.


2015 Annual Report

02/2016 // Bridging the Gap Between Taxpayers and Their Government


Predatory Public Records Requests

01/2016 // This report examines abuses of the state's Public Records Act, focusing on predatory practices that take advantage of local governments, and use the power of litigation to profit off of the taxpayers.


Budget Watch - Governor's FY2016-17 Recommended Budget

01/2016 // Florida legislators received news this week that they will have $395.6 million less to spend on the next state budget than originally anticipated. Citing weaker corporate profits and adverse developments in the international economy, the state General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference decreased its estimates of GR collections in each of the six years in its forecast horizon.


2016 Economic Preview

01/2016 // As we kick off 2016, Floridians can look forward to consistent growth in the Florida economy. As shown in the December 2015 Economic Commentary, Florida experienced strong job growth in 2015, adding nearly a quarter of a million jobs. Heading into 2016, Florida’s job market is widely expected to maintain its course as the Florida economy as a whole continues to strengthen. One of the most commonly used metrics to measure a state’s economy is the Real Gross State Product (RGSP), which measures the value of economic output for a given state, adjusted for price changes stemming from inflation or deflation. Florida’s RGSP is expected to grow 3.1 percent in 2016, which is roughly a half a percentage point higher than the United States.


2015 Job Growth Leads to Record-High Employment

12/2015 // For the past five years, Florida TaxWatch has published an annual review that has analyzed the most recent year’s employment figures. As December comes to a close and the New Year is upon us, TaxWatch looks to assess how our job market fared in 2015.


Budget Watch - What is the Cost of Florida's State and Local Government?

12/2015 // Florida’s has historically held the reputation of being a low-tax state, and that is largely true, especially at the state level. But taxes do not tell the whole story of what government costs its citizens. Taxes, especially those reported to the U.S. Census Bureau, exclude a large amount of revenue paid into government co ers by citizens. And that non-tax revenue accounts for a much higher portion of government total revenue in Florida than in the average state. A better measure of the cost of government is “own source revenue,” which Florida TaxWatch has been tracking in its How Florida Compares series. Own source revenue includes all direct revenue except for intergovernmental aid, revenue from government-owned utilities and other enterprises, and social insurance funds. It includes non-tax revenue such as fees, charges for services, special assessments, impact fees and net lottery revenue.


Budget Watch - Governor's FY2016-17 Recommended Budget

12/2015 // Governor Rick Scott’s budget recommendations for FY2016-17 total $79.252 billion—an increase of 1.1 percent ($855.1 million) over current year spending. General Revenue (GR) spending of $29.260 billion would be an increase of 1.4 percent over the current year. The budget proposes to fund 112,823 state employee positions, 864 fewer than currently exist.


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.


Florida's Fiscal Strength Ranked 5th Best Nationally

11/2015 // A recent study by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center reviewed the fiscal health of the United States, breaking down each state individually for comparison across several standardized metrics. This Economic Commentary takes a look into some of these measurements, as well as examining other areas that affect Florida’s fiscal standing.


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