Florida TaxWatch releases 2019 budget watch report

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida TaxWatch (FTW) today released the 2019 Budget Watch Report, following the Wednesday, August 14 General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference, which met to develop a new revenue forecast for the state.

The FTW report provides an independent analysis of the top issues discussed: Indian gaming revenue, Florida’s weaker economic forecast and the impact of the corporate income tax (CIT) reimbursements.

  • Indian Gaming Revenue: As expected, Florida will continue to lose approximately $350 million annually without a new compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
  • Revenue Sources Mixed Results: Although the economy was described as “winded” – still growing but slowing down – contributing to a $867.7 million reduction in GR estimates over two years. However, actual collection in the fiscal year just ended exceeding expectations by $507.2 million, mitigating the estimate reductions.
  • Corporate Income Tax Revenue: Corporations will be refunded $543.2 million in excess CIT payments paid last year, contributing to the revenue decline in FY 2019-20. However, FTW believes corporate taxpayers are still paying more than they would have without the federal changes and Florida’s decision to require the refund of excess revenue collection.

The Florida Legislature should feel some relief from Wednesday’s conference, as the general revenue available to the 2020 Legislature is up $391.1 million from the post-session outlook. This will provide lawmakers with $34.9 billion available for the next budget, assuming lawmakers keep a $1 billion reserve. This $788.7 million or 2.3 percent more than current GR spending.

“Florida TaxWatch takes its role as the state’s government watchdog seriously. For 40 years, we have worked to keep government accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Our Budget Watch Reports are a vital resource for Floridians to understand where their hard-earned money is allocated and understand the impacts of laws passed in Tallahassee each year.”

Please click here for the 2019 Budget Watch Report.

About Florida TaxWatch

As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for 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.

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