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From Research in Review Magazine, Florida State University, Spring 2006:

Rx for Revenues

Economists David Denslow and Carol Weissert recommend six key steps for lawmakers to take to save Florida’s economic health from a looming slow-down in a frenetic construction economy that is today’s key force in keeping the wolf away from the state’s door:

  • Form an official study commission to validate and expand the research findings. The commission could make interim recommendations to the 2006 Legislature and broader ones for the new governor and legislature in 2007.
  • Modify the class-size amendment along with a commitment to productive state spending on pre-K-12 school improvement. It becomes increasingly apparent that the limits voters sought in a 2002 Constitutional amendment are all-consuming of available resources, which precludes competing needs like teachers’ raises.
  • Take a long hard look at Medicaid. The runaway growth of the cost of the program would answer basic questions such as where money is actually spent and how Florida wants to allocate expenditures on the medically needy.
  • Seek policy adjustments, savings and innovations from other services. There is a strong case for improved service levels in areas where Florida is scraping by, like higher education, which has an impact on the state’s economic
  • development efforts.
  • Adjust taxes and revenue streams. Add new construction to property tax rolls. Extend the sales tax to Internet sales. Examine impact fees dedicated to pre-K-12 school construction. Review local option sales, gas and property taxes, including raising millage caps. Explore small special purpose taxes like ones on legal services to support costs.
  • Refrain from giving tax breaks or incentives for retirees.

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