A Guide to this Guide
Local taxing and spending is a major part of Florida government operations. More than half of all Florida government revenue (53.1 percent) is raised at the local level, one of the highest shares in the nation. Florida’s 66 county governments (plus Jacksonville’s consolidated government), more than 400 municipal governments, and approximately 1,000 independent special districts spend nearly $80 billion annually.
This publication compares the revenue and expenditure profiles of Florida’s 67 counties to give taxpayers an overview of how their local government stacks up with the rest of the state. The report presents the most recently available data regarding: property taxes, other taxes and fees, county and municipal revenues, county and municipal expenditures, and other related measures. While the focus is on county and municipal governments, we have included information on all types of local jurisdictions, including special districts and school districts, and most data are grouped geographically by county.
Based on the system developed by the Florida Department of Financial Services, known as the Local Government Electronic Reporting (LOGER) System, we classified local government revenues into five categories: property taxes; other taxes; charges for services; permits, fees and special assessments; intergovernmental revenues; and other revenues. Expenditures are classified as general government, public safety, courts, utility and environment, transportation, economic development, human services, and culture and recreation.
This report uses the most recently available data, but the limitations of that data must be considered. Data are self-reported by local governments and errors and omissions can occur. While the classification system helps, there may be some differences in how governments account for similar functions. Also, this report often groups data into geographic county totals in order to derive an average for all residents in the county. Depending on where in the county a person lives, deviations can occur.
This report compares the magnitude and makeup of Florida’s local governments’ fiscal operations. It does not attempt to compare or evaluate levels of service. We hope the information in this guide can help taxpayers make those assessments for themselves, for it is only through knowledge and participation that you can decide if you get the government you pay for.