TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida’s premier independent watchdog, Florida TaxWatch, released the follow-up to the 2018 Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide. The update details local tax measures and new bond issues that voters approved last month and provides an update on what's next for the 11 amendments that are now part of Florida's Constitution.
The report shows that voters in many Florida counties were in a generous mood on November 6, 2018, voting in favor of $1.5 billion in county and school district sales and property tax increases. In addition, voters in two counties and eight cities approved $1.2 billion in local government bond issues, which will necessitate property tax increases to pay off the bonds.
This follows tax increases for 11 additional counties and four special districts that were approved by voters during the primary election in August. These August increases totaled $335 million annually.
“On the ballot, these tax increases may not seem like much, but they do add up,” said Florida TaxWatch Chairman Pat Neal. “A valuable resource like Florida TaxWatch is needed now more than ever to keep taxpayers informed and to hold government accountable.”
No tax increase failed in November and only one bond issue (Cooper City) failed. Most passed easily—notable exceptions were sales tax referendums in Collier and Lee counties that got just over 50 percent yes votes.
On the plus side, Florida taxpayers have shown they are willing to pay more taxes if they feel the return will be worth it. Nine counties passed tax increases for schools, five more counties approved sales tax increases to fund transportation and other infrastructure need, and Alachua County approved a Children’s Trust with the authority to levy up to one-half mill in property taxes to fund services for children. In addition, many of the tax referendums created a citizen oversight committee to monitor the spending of these new dollars.
“It’s clear that Florida taxpayers are committed to funding local government services if the return on investment is worthwhile,” said Florida TaxWatch President & CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “While this commitment to improving schools and transportation is commendable, it is imperative that taxpayers stay involved in the process to ensure that their money is going to the right place.”
About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog & taxpayer research institute for nearly forty years, the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch, works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses.
Florida TaxWatch is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit http://www.floridataxwatch.org.