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State Government

2014 Legislative Session

Bill to exempt development fees draws local government concern By: Gray Rohrer - Florida Current - March 5, 2014
Legislation to remove concurrency fees from small developments passed its first vote despite objections.

Legislature convenes today By: Jeff Burlew - Tallahassee Democrat - March 4, 2014

Fla. lawmakers to kick off session By: Associated Press - Tampa Bay Times - March 3, 2014

Session Outlook 2014: Budget and Taxes By: Florida Current Staff - Florida Current - March 3, 2014
Provides an overview of expected budget talks and an introduction to key players in the discussion.

A viewers' guide to the 2014 Florida Legislature session By: Steve Bousquet - Miami Herald - March 2, 2014

Florida Governor wants to cut auto registration fees By: Gary Fineout - Naples Daily News - December 11, 2013
Proposal is expected to save vehicle owners approximately $25 per vehicle and cost the state about $401 million.

State revenue projected to grow nearly 5 percent By: Travis Pillow - Tallahassee Democrat - December 7, 2013
New numbers from State economists, forecast growth in revenue for next year.

Ways to spend state budget surplus start to pile up By: Aaron Deslatte - Orlando Sentinel - November 10, 2013
As Florida 2014 budget writing gets under way, they expect a $840 million budget surplus.

State House budget chief: Legislative wish lists, health care costs exceed base budget by $1.4 billion By: Matt Dixon - Florida Times Union - November 7, 2013
Despite estimates of increased revenue for 2014, rising costs and desired tax cuts outpace the growth.
Gov. Scott: All agencies must find cuts in search for $100 million in savings By: Gary Rohrer - Florida Current - October 24, 2013
The Governor is asking all agencies to continue to find savings despite increased income forecasts.
Sorting out Florida's surplus - Sarasota Herald Tribune Editorial - October 15, 2013
Suggests considering internet sales tax and uses taxes to invest in Florida's future in addition to considering cuts.
Putnam calls for energy tax cut, outlines other legislative proposals By: Bruce Ritchie - Florida Current - October 14, 2013
Agriculture Commissioner pushes for cutting commercial energy sales tax in half.
Lawmakers determined to cut taxes and fees in 2014 session By: Lloyd Dunkelberger - Daytona News Journal/Sarasota Herald - October 13, 2013
Includes a list of tax cut ideas that were moved forward including commercial lease sales tax, insurance premium tax and internet taxes.
House panel keeps options open on tax cuts By: Gary Rohrer - Florida Current - October 10, 2013
Florida House Finance and Tax Subcommittee discussed tax cut goals including both citizen and business tax cut ideas for 2014 session.

Flagler finalizes legislative priorities By: Julie Murphy - Daytona News Journal - October 7, 2013
Among other issues - Flagler wants tax incentives for businesses creating employment opportunities.
Florida government grapples with federal shutdown By: Grary Rohrer - Florida Current - October 3, 2013
An overview of expected Florida impacts compiled by state economists.
Marion County readies legislative wish list By: Bill Thompson - Ocala Star Banner - September 27, 2013
Marion BOCC Legislative priorities include changes to required bonds for companies and economic development initiatives.
Supporters of land-buying amendment win state Supreme Court OK By: Bruce Ritchie - Florida Current - September 26, 2013
Supreme Court agreed that proposed amendment to increase conservation funding met legal requirements, signature collection is on-going.
Business groups vie for Scott's tax cut By: Gary Rohrer - Florida Current - September 24, 2013
Business groups across the state are proposing tax cuts to the Governor as he finalizes his proposal to cut taxes by $500 million.
Business groups endorse Internet sales tax legislation By: Tia Mitchell - Tampa Bay Times - July 19, 2013
Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries and Retail Federation endorsed collection of Internet sales tax. Study found that collections would create almost 10,500 jobs and $34.9 billion in economic growth in Florida.

Public-private projects could boost economy, add jobs By: Marcia Heroux Pounds - Sun Sentinel - July 14, 2013
Businesses that specialize in infrastructure or P3s are excited by opportunity that new P3 passed legislation will lead to more projects.

State's 200 new laws, budget kick in Monday By: Jim Turner - News Service of Florida/Orlando Sentinel - June 29, 2013
State's $74.1 billion budget year starts with highlights of new laws going into effect.
2013 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

2013 Session: Which bills passed, which bills failed - Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Bureau - May 4, 2013
List of bill outcomes in 2013 Legislative session

Highlights of the 2013 Florida Budget - CBS Miami - May 4, 2013

Run-down of what areas received additional funding and where big changes were made.

2013 Legislative session concludes with budget, election reform passing - Naples Daily News Staff and Wire Services - May 3, 2013
Overview of legislative session.

Pre - 2013 Legislative Session

Bill instituting Internet sales tax unveiled By: Lloyd Dunkelberger - Gainesville Sun - February 5, 2013
A new bill in the Senate proposes state sales tax on internet purchases with a reduction in manufacturer taxes on supplies and consumer communications taxes. 

Add internet tax to shopping cart - Sarasota Herald Tribune Editorial - February 1, 2013
The State is leaving money on the table which could fund needed state programs and would help brick and mortar stores in Florida. 

Gov. Rick Scott proposes $74.2 billion budget By: Steve Bousquet - Tampa Bay Times - February 1, 2013
The Governor's proposed budget is a $4 billion increase from last year and includes increased spending in schools and the environment, while it cuts state workers and Medicaid payments, increased privatization of work release programs and proposed new business tax cuts. 

More money, but still problems for Florida's budget By: Steve Bousquet and Michael Van Sickler - Tampa Bay Times - January 28, 2013
For the first time in three years the state is expecting a budget surplus and Gov. Scott is preparing his suggested budget. 

Gaetz takes Senate helm By: James Call - Florida Current - November 20, 2012
New Senate President laid out the issues he wants to focus on as he took the oath of office.

Rep Weatherford formally named House Speaker, pledges bipartisanship By: Gray Rohrer - Florida Current - November 20, 2012
New House Speaker sworn in.

Florida Lawmakers sworn in, face daunting work By: Aaron Deslatte - Orlando Sentinel - November 20, 2012
59 new representatives are sworn in and face issues including federal health care law and education reform.

2012 News

CNBC report: Florida gets more federal funds than any other state By: Jeff Harrington – Tampa Bay Times – October 2, 2012

The areas where Florida received the most money included Homeland Security, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid

Technology, transportation and your tax dollars By: Dominic Calabro - Hernando Today - August 25, 2012
A look back at how Florida's tax structure was created and changes that have occurred which leaves Florida's tax system out of sync. 

Counties owe Medicaid $168 million, Florida says By: Christine Jordan Sexton - Health News Florida - August 2, 2012
After months of negotiations about the changed policy and faulty billing system the amount counties owe the state has dropped by about half. 

Scott to State Agencies: Plan to cut 5% By: Lloyd Dunkelberger - Lakeland Ledger - July 18, 2012
Despite increased revenue projects a number of financial challenges are foreseen so Florida will continue to look for cuts, rather than increased revenue sources. 

State's outmoded tax system needs overhaul - Orlando Sentinel Editorial - July 3, 2012

After years of cutting budgets at the state level, a look at the entire tax system is needed to determine how to fund services.  

New state laws go into effect on Sunday By: Bill Kaczor - Miami Herald - June 30, 2012
In addition to the new state budget starting many new laws go into effect ranging from student athletes to auto insurance. 

Florida legislators "embraced" Florida Chamber of Commerce's priorities By: Doug Sword - Sarasota Herald Tribune - June 11, 2012
Most top priorities of the Chamber were passed and the average Chamber score for lawmakers is 95 out of 100. 

Blame Legislature, Scott when property taxes rise Tampa Bay Times Editorial - May 21, 2012
Change in state billing of Medicaid is going to force Counties to raise taxes and Legislators should take blame for increased rates. 

State's Medicaid changes to double County's deficit By: Anne Lindberg - Tampa Bay Times - May 8, 2012 
Change isn't just retroactive - it also requires Counties to pay up front for future bills causing big budget deficits. 

Scott's veto of planning council money hurts local governments and state's future, say critics By: Craig Pittman - Tampa Bay Times - May 3, 2012
Planning councils received State funding for 26 years because they do things mandated by the State, like work with local governments to create hurricane evacuation routes and help with things like attract new businesses. Scott has vetoed money to them for two years now with no explanation of why given. 

In Tallahassee fashion, local taxpayers clean up state's mess By: Neil Johnson - Hernando Today - April 21, 2012
Provides an explanation of how the Medicaid problem was created and what the State and Counties are doing about it. 

No severability clause? No problem. Counties say lawsuit will focus on county Medicaid billing only By: Christine Jordan Sexton - Florida Current - April 16, 2012
Lawsuit to be filed by the Florida Association of Counties will only challenge the portion of the bill that allows the state to without future sharing of sales taxes with the counties. 

Cuts threaten credit ratings, universities - Tampa Tribune Editorial - April 8, 2012
The Legislature has been shortsighted in some of the ways they have balanced the budget and as the economy rebounds they should rebuild reserves and reinvest in education for long-term gains. 

2012 Legislative Session   
Scott signs bills giving Florida businesses more than $1 billion in tax cuts over three years By: John Kennedy - Palm Beach Post - March 28, 2012
Find an explanation of the bills and what they do at the end of the article. 

Urging a veto by Gov Scott Guest Column By: Christopher L. Holley - Naples News - March 18, 2012 
An in-depth explanation of why Counties are opposed to the Medicare bill passed in 2012 session. 

A budget only special interests could love By: Tampa Bay Times Editorial - March 13, 2012 
Legislators balanced the budget, but in the process higher education was cut and tuition was raised, K-12 education funding didn't go up enough to make up for past cuts, Medicaid was changed leaving federal money on the table, counties were put on the hook for more Medicaid funding and County court budgets were cut again. Legislators also continued to not collect internet sales tax and  made Florida' economic recovery harder. 

The 2012 Florida Legislature: Winners and Losers By: News Service of Florida - Flagler Life - March 13, 2012
A run-down of bills that passed and failed during session. It does not provide an update on if the bills have been signed into law by the Governor. 

Lobbying pays off big for business in Florida's 2012 session By: Toluse Olorunnipa - Tampa Bay Times - March 12, 2012
Businesses received about $750 million in tax relief this year which is expected to grow to over $2.5 billion over the next five years. 

New state budget may come with a future cost By: Lloyd Dunkelberger - Sarasota Herald Tribune - March 11, 2012
While the Legislature balanced the state budget without raising taxes or the really deed cuts of recent years, many worry about the long term impact of cutting funding to programs like higher education and taking money from trust funds. 

Winners and losers: Some bills that passed, failed in the 2012 legislative session Tampa Bay Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau - March 11, 2012
A listing of bills that passed and failed in Tallahassee grouped by area. 

Florida's credit rating in jeopardy, Moody's says By: Gary Fineout - Gainesville Sun - March 10, 2012
Investors worry that continued draining of reserve funds and additional tax cuts could make it more expensive for Florida to borrow in the future. 

Florida lawmakers put four questions on ballot, including three to cut taxes By: Dara Kam - Palm Beach Post - March 10, 2012
All three of the proposed tax cuts affect local government revenues, the fourth changes the student representative to the Board of Governors. 

Legislature's $70 billion budget holds taxes but slices deep By: Associated Press - Bay News 9 - March 10, 2012
Businesses got a new tax break, but money going to hospitals and universities will decline, college tuition will increase, and K-12 school funding was increased, but the increase is less than the cut they received last legislative session. 

Fla. lawmakers likely to reduce size of tax hike By: Associated Press - Local 10 WPLG Miami/Ft. Lauderdale - February 29, 2012
The minimum tax rate was supposed to jump substantially this year, however, the Legislature is looking to spread the increase out. 

Business tax cuts making headway in Florida Legislature By: Zac Anderson - Sarasota Herald Tribune - February 29, 2012
Tax cut packages are moving through Tallahassee despite worries from opponents that Florida would be better served to invest in education and infrastructure. 

Tax cut for small businesses could lead to breaks for big ones By: Jason Garcia - Orlando Sentinel - February 10, 2012
The Legislature is considering a proposal from Gov. Scott to cut taxes businesses pay on tangible goods. That change requires voter approval and the question may ask if future changes can be done without voter approval opening the door to big tax changes in the future. 

Communications tax measure clears Senate panel, with some changes coming By: Travis Pillow - Florida Current - February 6, 2012
The bill could take a significant toll on local budgets but estimates are difficult to project until or unless it takes effect. 

Florida Senate considers taxing Internet sales By: The Associated Press - Tampa Tribune - February 2, 2012 
Sponsors say they are proposing the bills to level the playing field for companies located in Florida who have to compete against on-line companies. 

Bulking up STEM comes with a price tag, educators say By: Rebecca Catalanello, Jeffrey S. Solocheck and Sherri Ackerman - Tampa Bay Times - January 17, 2012
Science and technology courses are among the most expensive and K-12 and colleges are struggling with funding. 

Florida Government Weekly Roundup: And They're Back By: The Florida News Service - - January 14, 2012

A summary of the first week of Legislative session in Tallahassee including a new economic forecast. 

Revenue outlook not rosy enough to cheer Florida lawmakers facing budget gap By: John Kennedy - Palm Beach Post - January 12, 2012
State economists increase their revenue forecast by just over $26 million - not enough to close the anticipated $2 billion deficit.

Scott signs order, bringing special districts under microscope By: John Kennedy - Palm Beach Post - January 12, 2012 
The Office of Policy and Budget will begin a review of special taxing districts

Bill gives governor clout over workforce boards By: Michael Peltier - News Service of Florida - January 12, 2012 
A bill is moving through the legislature which would require workforce board members to make financial disclosures and allow the Governor to remove them for cause. 

Collect online sales tax - all of it - Sun-Sentinel Editorial - January 9, 2012
The Florida Legislature needs to collect online sales taxes, and they shouldn't be "revenue neutral" but rather should be invested in Florida. 

Legislative Session: Do No Harm is Polk's main request By: Bill Rufty - Lakeland Ledger - January 8, 2012 
As Tallahassee gets back to work, Polk and other counties are asking Legislators to not pass any cuts to local government funding or mandates that will cost local governments more money.

Despite lean budget, emergency is over - Tampa Tribune Editorial - January 8, 2012
After five years of budgeting through a crisis it's time for the Legislature to stop taking away local control and start planning and investing again.  

Budget, district boundaries will be key issues as 2012 Florida legislative session begins By: John Kennedy - Palm Beach Post - January 8, 2012
The Legislature is required to draw new district lines and pass a budget and in an election year some wonder if anything else will be done. 

8 thorny issues lawmakers will be handling this session By: Aaron Deslatte and Kathleen Haughney - Orlando Sentinel - January 7, 2012
The Orlando Sentinel's take on what to watch this session. Issues not discussed in other articles include Caylee's law, claims bills and red-light cameras. 

Education, business development top list of budget priorities facing state legislators By: Jonathan Mattise - TC Palm - January 6, 2012
What to expect this legislative session by major government area, with an emphasis on how the changes could impact the Treasure Coast. 

2012 Session Outlook: Budget & Taxes By: Travis Pillow - The Current - January 4, 2012
Despite a slight uptick in state revenue, Tallahassee has another hard budget year ahead. The big money issues are expected to be the budget, property tax caps, internet sales tax collection, local business taxes and business tax breaks. 

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