Florida TaxWatch Report
Revenue firms up for 2015 Florida budget
New estimates add $627 million to state's coffers.
Lawmakers are expected to have $30.6 billion in General Revenue, plus unspent reserves, to create a state budget in 2015. An historic $30.6 billion budget would be $2.2 billion more than the current spending plan, an increase of 7.9 percent.
"Florida's economy is faster than most states, which is good news for all taxpayers and residents who rely on state services, from young school children in voluntary pre-K programs to the businesses who use incentives to grow and create jobs," said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute, Florida TaxWatch. "The wise investments in our state economy are paying off, and more General Revenue available to the Governor and lawmakers will enable them to increase funding in core services while also providing tax relief to hardworking Florida families."
Based on the criteria in the state's Long Range Financial Outlook, policymakers have projected a budget surplus of nearly $1.2 billion considering a continuation budget and $1 billion in reserves. The latest revenue estimating conferences increased General Revenue estimates up by $627.9 million.
The revenue increases are the result of a strengthening economy and lower gas prices, which are boosting consumer confidence. Sales tax collections are up, and so are documentary stamp tax revenues thanks to growth in the housing market. However, not all General Revenue sources are increasing. Indian gaming revenues and Article 5 court fee estimates have been reduced.
Outside of General Revenue projections, other revenue sources are also changing. Property tax estimates are up for the 3rd consecutive year. Taxable value in Florida for 2015 will exceed $1.6 trillion, which is a 5.6 percent growth from the current year. Increasing property values have strengthened the value of a mill ($1 of ad valorem tax per $1,000 of property value), meaning the state will have $459 million in additional local revenue for public schools using the same millage rate.
*The 2014-15 Budget totaled more than $77.1 billion. The $30.6 billion in General Revenue will comprise less than half of the final 2015-16 budget.
For more information, check out the latest BudgetWatch from Florida TaxWatch.
Florida TaxWatch is a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan research institute that over its 33-year history has become widely recognized as the watchdog of citizens' hard-earned tax dollars. Its mission is to provide the citizens of Florida and public officials with high quality, independent research and education on government revenues, expenditures, taxation, public policies and programs and to increase the productivity and accountability of Florida state and local government. Its support comes from homeowners and retirees, small and large businesses, philanthropic foundations, and professional associations. On the web at www.FloridaTaxWatch.org.