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 (53.6 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.


 

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Data Sources

Per Capita Total Property Tax Levies:

Includes all taxing jurisdictions in each county (counties, cities, school districts and special districts) and uses total county population. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County Government Property Tax Levies:

Includes county government operating levies, county government debt service levies, dependent special districts and municipal service taxing units (MSTUs). Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Municipal Government Property Tax Levies:

Per capita municipal levies were calculated by dividing all municipal levies in a county by total county population. Levies for Jacksonville’s consolidated government are included in the county government table. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita School District Property Tax Levies:

Includes both district school board operating and debt service levies. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Independent Special District Property Tax Levies:

Includes independent districts only. Dependent districts are included in the county government table. Calculated using total county population. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Average Total Property Tax Millage Rates:

Includes all jurisdictions. Calculated using total property tax levies and total taxable value in each county. School district portion calculated using school taxable value, the rest using county taxable value. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Impact Of Save Our Homes In Taxes:

Represents the amount of property taxes reduced or shifted to other taxpayers by Save Our Homes. Calculated using current average millage rates applied to Save Our Homes differential (just value minus assessed value) of homestead properties. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Impact Of 2008 Property Tax Constitutional Amendment In Taxes:

The Amendment increased the Homestead Exemption from $25,000 to $50,000, permits residents to take Save Our Homes benefits to a new homestead property when they move, grants a $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property paid by businesses, and limits increases in assessed value for non-homestead properties to no more than 10 percent. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Growth In Total Property Tax Levies - FY2012-13 Through FY2015-16:

Includes all jurisdictions. Reflects the growth from when statewide property tax levies began rising again, following five straight years of decline, due to the lingering effects of the Great Recession. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Growth In Total Property Tax Levies - FY2007-08 Through FY2015-16:

Includes all jurisdictions. Reflects change from when statewide property tax levies reached their all-time high in FY 2007-08 as local governments reaped significant revenue windfalls from the housing bubble. Levies then began declining for five straight years and then began to grow again. Most counties have still not returned to that high water mark. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Percent Of Total Taxable Just Value:

Shows the effect that various exclusions, differentials, exemptions, and credits have on the ad valorem tax base of local governments. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Taxable Value:

Taxable value is just value of all property in each county, less exclusions, differentials, exemptions, and credits. Uses county taxable value, school taxable value is 10 percent higher statewide. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Total Property Tax Levies Per $1,000 Of Personal Income:

Includes all taxing jurisdictions in each county. Source: Florida TaxWatch, Florida Department of Revenue, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (September 2013), June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Local Option Sales Tax Rates:

* Jackson rate effective 7-1-2016. 0.5 percent expired for six months (January-June 2016). Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016.

Per Capita Local Option Sales Tax Revenue:

The majority of local option sales tax revenues is distributed to county governments, but some money goes to municipalities and school boards as well. Source: Florida Legislature, Office of Economic and Demographic Research and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Local Option Motor Fuel Tax Rates:

Includes the 9th cents tax (up to 1 cent), the local option tax (up to 6 cents), the additional local option tax (up to 5 cents), and the State Comprehensive Enhanced Transportation System (SCETS) tax (up to 7.4 cents and indexed to inflation). Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016.

Per Capita Local Option Motor Fuel Tax Revenue:

Local option motor fuel tax revenues are distributed to county and municipal governments and are generally used for transportation purposes. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Local Option Tourist Development Tax Rates:

Includes tourist development taxes, tourist impact taxes, professional sport franchise taxes and Convention Development taxes. Miami-Dade also has a food and beverage tax of 2% in hotels and 1% in other establishments. Source: Florida Department of Revenue and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016.

Per Capita Local Option Tourist Development Tax Revenue:

Includes tourist development taxes, tourist impact taxes, professional sport franchise taxes and Convention Development taxes. Miami-Dade also has a food and beverage tax of 2 percent in hotels and 1 percent in other establishments. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Local Communications Services Tax Revenue:

Counties and cities may levy the tax on telecommunications and cable services. There are separate rates for each city and unincorporated area. Rates range from 0.3 percent to 7.6 percent. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Local Public Services Tax Revenue:

Municipalities and charter counties may impose a tax on purchases of electricity, gas, and water service. Most jurisdictions levy the maximum rate of 10 percent.Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Building Permit Fees:

These fees are regulatory fees imposed by both cities and counties. Such fees should not exceed the regulated activity’s cost and are generally required to be applied solely to the regulated activity’s cost for which the fee is imposed. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County, Municipal & School Impact Fees:

Includes school district, city and county fees. School district fee data are from FY 2014-15. Impact fees are charges imposed by local governments against new development to provide for capital facilities’ costs made necessary by population growth. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Special Assessment Revenue:

Reflects total county and municipal assessments divided by total county population. Special assessments can fund items such as garbage disposal, sewer improvements, fire protection, street improvements, and downtown redevelopment. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Total County & Municipal Government Revenue:

Includes all reported county and city government revenue and uses total county population to calculate per capita amounts. Latest available municipal data are FY2012-13. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Tax Revenue:

Major tax sources include property taxes, public services tax, communications services tax, and local option sales and fuel taxes. Special assessments and impact fees are not included. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Permits, Fees & Special Assessment Revenue:

Includes special assessments, impact fees, building and other permits, franchise fees, and license fees. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Intergovernmental Revenue:

Intergovernmental revenue includes all revenues received from federal, state, and other local government sources in the form of grants, shared revenues, and payments in lieu of taxes. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Charges For Services:

Charges for services are direct payments by private individuals or other governments for services provided. This includes such services as government owned utilities or waste collection. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Total Municipal Revenue:

Includes all reported city government revenue and uses incorporated population to calculate per capita amounts. Latest available municipal data are FY2012-13. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Total County Revenue:

Includes county government revenue only and uses total county population. * Jacksonville’s consolidated government (Duval County) data are included in the municipal tables and total county and municipal tables. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Total County & Municipal Government Expenditures:

Includes all reported county and city government expenditures and uses total county population to calculate per capita amounts. Latest available municipal data are FY2012-13. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Total Municipal Expenditures:

Includes all reported city government expenditures and uses incorporated population to calculate per capita amounts. Latest available municipal data are FY2012-13. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita Total County Expenditures:

Includes county government expenditures only and uses total county population. * Jacksonville’s consolidated government (Duval County) data are included in the municipal tables and total county and municipal tables. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal General Government Expenditures:

General government expenditures are those for basic governmental administration, including legislative, executive, financial, legal counsel, information technology (non-court related), and comprehensive planning. Also includes debt service and pension benefits. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Public Safety Expenditures:

Public safety expenditures include law enforcement, fire control, protective inspections, emergency and disaster relief, ambulance and rescue services, medical examiners, and consumer affairs. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Physical Environment Expenditures:

Physical environment expenditures include electric utility, gas and water utility services, garbage/solid waste control, sewer/wastewater services, conservation management, and flood control/stormwater management. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Transportation Expenditures:

Includes spending on road and street facilities, airports, water transportation systems, and transit and parking facilities. This expenditure category does not include traffic control, law enforcement, and highway safety projects (in public safety). Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Economic Environment Expenditures:

Economic environment includes spending on employment opportunity and development, industry development, veteran’s services and housing, and urban development. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Human Services Expenditures:

Human services include hospitals, health, mental health, public assistance, developmental disabilities, and other human services. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Culture & Recreation Expenditures:

Cultural and recreational expenditures include libraries, parks and recreation, cultural services, special events, and special recreational facilities. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County & Municipal Courts Expenditures:

Includes general court and circuit court administration, state attorney, public defender and clerks of the court administration, guardian ad litem, hearing officers, dispute resolution, misdemeanor probation, legal aid, and other court-related expenditures. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Department of Financial Services and Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Total County Population:

These population figures are the latest available. To calculate per capita data, this report uses population data from the same year of the other data used. Source: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, results of the December 2015 Population and Demographic Estimating Conference; Florida TaxWatch, June 2016.

Percentage Of Population Living In Unincorporated Areas:

These population figures are the latest available. To calculate per capita data, this report uses population data from the same year of the other data used. Source: Florida TaxWatch, using data from the University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research (October 2015), June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Population Of Florida’s 50 Largest Cities:

Source: Florida TaxWatch, using data from the University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research (October 2015), June 2016.

County Population Density:

Land area used to compute density is not adjusted for lands which cannot be developed (government-owned parks or reserves), or are uninhabitable (swamps or marshes). Source: Decennial Census and University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, Population Program, Florida Population Studies; Florida TaxWatch, June 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Per Capita County Personal Income:

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, March 2016. Some data may appear to be equal due to rounding.

Unemployment Rate By County:

Not seasonally adjusted. Source: Florida TaxWatch, using data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, June 2016.

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106 N. BRONOUGH ST., TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301
TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476

Media Inquiries:  Contact Leah Courtney by Email or Phone: 850.212.5052

Media Inquiries:
Contact Leah Courtney by Email
or Phone: 850.212.5052