TaxWatch Research

Highly respected. Credible. Independent. That’s Florida TaxWatch research. 

Every year for the past 34 years, the Florida TaxWatch team has produced numerous comprehensive and relevant public policy research publications in a variety of formats, all designed to generate positive fiscal and economic results and to keep Florida TaxWatch members and policymakers informed.
TaxWatch has a historical understanding of government, public policy issues, and the battles fought in the past necessary to structure effective solutions for the future. We frame the public debate going forward. Florida TaxWatch research exemplifies the power of knowledge, strategically placed and integrated at the right time, the right place, in the right manner, with the right people to help accomplish great things for the taxpayers of Florida.

 It’s Research that Gets Results!

Research By Issue

TaxWatch Publications

2014 Taxpayer Independence Day

4/2014  Florida taxpayers have a reason to celebrate on Tuesday, April 22nd. The date marks Taxpayer Independence Day as estimated by Florida TaxWatch. April 22nd, 2014, is the first day in the calendar year that Florida taxpayers, on average, will begin earning income that does not go toward federal, state and local taxes.

FY2014-15 House and Senate Budget Comparison

4/2014  This BudgetWatch report compares the FY2014-15 House and Senate budgets in each spending area, and shows the change versus the current fiscal year.

Over-Criminalization in Florida

4/2014  Florida could save significant corrections costs by reducing prison sentences for nonviolent offenders, according to data analysis in this report. The report calls for the state to review options to reduce the prison population through downgrading offenses and implementing alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, level one and two offenders.

Florida's Looming Alzheimers Crisis

4/2014  The number of Floridians affected with Alzheimers is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent in the next decade, putting a strain on Floridas health care system and increasing costs for taxpayers, according to this report from Florida TaxWatch. The report calls for additional research into Alzheimers to prepare for the states aging population and to seek a viable preventative treatment.

Comparing the House, Senate and Governor Tax Cut Proposals

4/2014  The competing House and Senate tax cut proposals have many differences that need to be worked out, but there are beneficial provisions in both plans, according to this report, which compares the three proposals suggested by the Florida House, Senate and Governor Rick Scott to provide $500 million in tax cuts during the 2014 Legislative Session.

STATEMENT: TaxWatch Commends Governor and Legislature for Reducing Vehicle Registration Fees

4/2014  Florida TaxWatch commends the Legislature for passing and Governor Scott for signing the first tax relief bill of the 2014 Legislative Session to reduce vehicle registration fees for all Floridians. This good bill will put up to $25 back in the pockets of each Florida driver and is a great way to make sure all Floridians benefit from broad tax relief. As a part of Governor Scotts "Its Your Money Tax Cut" that has been wisely embraced by the Legislature, reducing these vehicle registration fees will save Floridians $394.5 million annually.

Commercializing Florida's Public Research

3/2014  Floridas universities and research institutes are creating of some of the states most advanced technologies, but one Florida Institute is helping to bring them to the masses. The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, highlighted in this Economic Commentary, invests in developing companies using the latest products and processes invented at Floridas publicly-funded universities and research institutes.

Taking a Fresh Look at Florida's Class Size Limits

3/2014  Since voters approved a 2002 Constitutional Amendment to reduce class sizes, taxpayers have spent more than $27 billion (including capital facilties and operating costs) to comply with the law, despite research that shows smaller class sizes do not result in higher achievement levels for students in grades 4-12. According to this report, changing the calculations for determining class size restrictions would better serve students and could save taxpayers $10 billion over ten years.

Putting the Trust Back in Trust Funds

3/2014  In the second yearly installment of the TaxWatch look at the issue of Trust Fund sweeps, this report looks at two consecutive years of sweeps from various funds, and recommends a separate bill for each desired sweep by the Legislature.

When it Costs More to Pay Less

3/2014  Floridas Assistant State Attorneys and Assistant Public Defenders are significantly undercompensated, as shown in findings from this research report. The new report analyzes Assistant State Attorney and Assistant Public Defender pay across each of Floridas judicial circuits and finds that their low pay contributes to high turnover rates, causing delays in judicial processing and increased taxpayer investment in new employee training, costing taxpayers more than $15 million annually.

Statement: TaxWatch Stands Behind APRN Report

3/2014  Florida TaxWatch released a statement from Robert E. Weissert, Esq., Chief Research Officer and General Counsel, standing firmly behind a recent briefing outlining the debate between Florida’s health care practitioners. The statement addresses concerns, already refuted in the report, raised by a special interest group opposed to removing practice restrictions on the 15,000 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in Florida.

March 2014 Budget Watch

3/2014  Already enjoying what is called a more than $1 billion budget surplus to appropriate during the 2014 Legislative Session, lawmakers were given another $150 million by the latest General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference. This Budget Watch report for this coming fiscal year examines the latest round of estimating conferences by state economists and recommends that the Legislature still consider this a tight budget year and continue to implement cost-saving reforms such as those identified by the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency.

Economic Impact Evaluation of a Proposed Honeybee Research and Extension Laboratory in Florida

3/2014  A new honeybee research facility could make Florida a global leader in agricultural research and is estimated to return more than $1 million in state tax revenue to Florida. The proposed facility, to be established at the University of Florida, would attract research revenue as well as help recruit and retain top researchers and students.

Diagnosing the Debate: APRN Scope of Practice

3/2014  Allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to practice to the fullest extent of their training and experience would increase access to quality health care for Floridians while saving the state up to $339 million, according to this Briefing. To facilitate such practice, Floridas practice and regulation laws must be revisited to remove barriers to nurse practitioner-provided care.

Critical Connections to Care

3/2014  Statewide expansion of telemedicine could save Florida more than $1 billion annually, according to this TaxWatch report. The report highlights the importance of removing barriers and including incentives for encouraging the use of telemedicine through the creation of a solid policy foundation.

Budget Watch - Florida's Finances Strong

2/2014  The fiscal condition of Florida's state government is in good shape as evidenced by a new study that ranks the state sixth overall in the nation, though there are some limitations with the reports findings, according to this analysis by Florida TaxWatch.

Florida's University Research Parks

2/2014  Floridas nine university research parks help create high-wage jobs, diversify the state economy and ensure Florida retains top graduates, according to this month's Economic Commentary. The report highlights the importance of Floridas research parks to the creation and sustainability of STEM jobs in the state.

Reforming Florida's IT Governance Structure

2/2014  Florida must have an integrated Information Technology (IT) Governance model to improve IT services and reduce costs, according to this Report. The Report analyzes Florida's needs and options and finds that a federated governance structure will reduce duplicative IT investments and allow the state to allocate resources more efficiently.

Budget Watch - Governor's Proposed Budget - FY2014-15

2/2014  Highlights from Governor Rick Scott's proposed budget plan for FY 2014-15 are featured in this Budget Watch Report. The $74.20 billion spending plan is slightly lower than current year spending, even as lawmakers are expected to have their first budget surplus in many years.

Florida's 2013 Job Growth

1/2014  Floridas growing economy created an estimated 192,900 private sector jobs in 2013, according to this annual jobs report. The 2013 growth rates show Florida leading the nations high-population states with the largest per-capita increase in jobs. The state also saw the second-largest yearly percentage increase in non-farm employment in the nation with a 2.6 percent growth rate.

Diversifying Florida's Economy Through Local Economic Development

1/2014  This report shows that all economic development strategies are not created equal, and details the spillover effects of several popular economic development projects. Although each local community must address its individual economic needs, the report shows that targeting certain areas of economic growth produce higher return on investment.

Sentencing for Oxycodone and Hydrocodone Offenses

1/2014  This Briefing recommends that the state decriminalize the possession of minor amounts of oxycodone and hydrocodone, and lower mandatory minimums to save significant tax dollars, reduce prison populations, and help shift the focus to treatment for substance abuse problems.

An Adult Civil Citation Program Can Save Taxpayer Dollars

1/2014  This Briefing recommends that the state put in place the guidlines for an Adult Civil Citation program, patterned on the existing Juvenile Civil Citation program, which offers an alternative process to misdemeanor arrest for first-time nonviolent youth offenders.

Revising Driving While License Suspended Laws in Florida

1/2014  Based on the fact that license revocation is very common in Florida, this report recommends that the state remove the felony sanctions for driving while license suspended, which would align Florida with penalties in similar states, reduce prison populations, and save taxpayer money.

Inmate Reentry in Florida

12/2013  According to this Report, expanding reentry programs in Florida could prevent inmates from returning to state correctional facilities and reduce costs for taxpayers.

Economic Commentary - Growing Florida Startup Companies

12/2013  This Economic Commentary highlights the opportunities angel investment provides to Florida startups and small businesses. Angel investor networks help entrepreneurs connect with the resources and capital they require to become successful companies that can have a significant impact on local and state economies.

2013 Florida Juvenile Justice Inventory

12/2013  In order to meet the growing demand for juvenile justice programs throughout Florida, many new programs have been developed. But in order for Florida to take full advantage of available resources, it is essential to know what those resources are. This Inventory is the first step in the process of creating a comprehensive list.

The Effect of Changes in the National Flood Insurance Program on Florida

11/2013  This Economic Commentary recommends that the required analysis be completed to determine the impact of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. Removal of the subsidies could affect home values and purchasing patterns, potentially resulting in reduced tax receipts from local property tax collections. To determine if the impact will be substantial, the report recommends the Federal Emergency Management Agency conduct the required affordability study prior to implementation of the Act.

2013 Annual Report

11/2013  The 2013 Florida TaxWatch Annual Report — Positioning Florida for 2014: Building on a Solid Foundation

Modern Management & Sensible Savings

11/2013  This Report, from the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency, highlights more than $1 billion in savings for Florida taxpayers, without reducing state-provided services. The six comprehensive recommendations included in the Report address replacement of the state’s accounting system; information technology governance, procurement and state asset management; pension reform; criminal justice reform; state health insurance reforms; and revenue maximization.

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Cost Savings Task Force 

TaxWatch has consistently produced a menu of original solutions designed to create greater accountability in Florida's government.


Archived Research

TaxWatch has a long history of taxpayer-centered research, going back to 1979. Our Archive houses everything prior to 2009. 

Other Publications

From time to time, TaxWatch will publish papers by those not on our staff, letters from elected officials, speeches, and other non-research pieces. 

Morgan McCord        
Communications Coordinator

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