Filling the Coverage Gap for Children in KidCare Is Appropriate and Affordable | Print |  E-mail
February 2012

> Read the report.

 
Legislature Continues Disinvesting In Higher Education | Print |  E-mail
February 2012

The Florida Legislature's years-long policy of cutting state funding for higher education while shifting more of the cost of a college education to students and parents continues.

Budgets passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives again reduce state funding for universities and colleges by hundreds of millions of dollars after four years of deep cuts and despite rapidly increasing enrollment.

While philosophically opposed to raising taxes or fees, legislative leaders contemplate some increases in tuition. The final amount of tuition hikes - and the overall level of cuts in state dollars for higher education - will not be known until the two chambers agree on a budget and until Governor Rick Scott, who has said he opposes tuition increases, signs it.

Regardless of the depth of cuts in this session, the recent history of appropriations for Florida's 11 public universities and 28 state colleges (formerly known as community colleges) constitutes a record of disinvestment. Meanwhile, the Governor and legislative leaders trumpet college education as a key to a vibrant state economy and are asking universities to produce more graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

> Read the report.

 
Collecting Sales Tax on Internet Purchases Makes Sense As Part of Tax Modernization | Print |  E-mail
February 2012

Overcoming the obstacles to collecting unpaid sales tax on Internet purchases and raising additional revenue makes sense, particularly as part of a comprehensive plan to modernize the state's tax system to make it fairer to average Floridians and local small business owners.

Requiring out-of-state retailers to collect the tax would level the playing field for Florida-based companies and strengthen the state's tax structure.  The national solution using a streamlined sales tax agreement among the states would provide the most comprehensive and legally defensible approach to the Internet tax issue.

But proposals that would offset additional revenues with reductions elsewhere would worsen existing flaws in Florida's tax system.  They would miss a large opportunity to make taxes more adequate to meet needs and would put more of the tax burden on average consumers.

> Read the report.

 
Budget Proposals Set Aside More Reserves Than Necessary | Print |  E-mail
January 2012

Governor Rick Scott and Senate and House leaders all plan to set aside far more money in reserves in the 2012-13 state budget than traditional financial practices require. The inflated reserve fund will force new cuts to health and human service programs and again shortchange public schools, state colleges, and universities.

That action, combined with their refusal to consider any tax modernization proposals that would generate new revenue, will produce another budget inadequate to meet the needs of the state. Meanwhile, no public discussion has occurred about how much money should be reserved and the impact of the level of reserves on appropriations for vital public services.

> Read the report.

 
Proposed Medicaid Cuts Will Harm Florida's Economy | Print |  E-mail
January 2012

The Governor's proposed 2012-13 budget calls for a $3 billion reduction in total appropriations.  Key to achieving a reduction of this magnitude is a cut of more than $2 billion to the perennially targeted Medicaid program.

But only about one-fifth of the funds "saved" would be state general revenue dollars.  In fact, the majority of the reduction ($1.2 billion) would be lost federal matching dollars.

The proposed cuts would be detrimental to both Florida and Floridians, undermining the already strained Medicaid system, imperiling access to care for the sickest, and siphoning off Florida's share of federal tax dollars out of the economy.

> Read the report.

 
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