The Sunshine State prides itself on being an ideal location to live, work, and play. While Florida, now the nation’s third most populous state, remains competitive across areas such as economic development, business opportunities, cutting-edge research, and arguably leads the nation in tourism, Florida lags behind a majority of states when it comes to addressing the health access needs of its large, rapidly growing, diversely-aged population.
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<p>The latest Florida General Revenue Estimating Conference produced some good
news for the Governor and the legislators that will be putting together the next
state budget. Increased estimates of revenue to be collected in the current year (FY2014-
15) and the next year (FY2015-16) mean that there will be $627.9 million more general
revenue (GR) for the Legislature to work with than the previous estimate.
At its meeting December 15, the conference adopted a new forecast that shows that
Floridaâ€™s economy is recovering and people are spending more. Lower gas prices are
helping to free up some discretionary income and consumers are responding. Taxable
sales relating to tourism and business purchases are also increasing.
Since the last GR forecast in August, actual collections have exceeded expectations. At
the end of November, total collections for the year (five months) were $158.6 million
(1.55 percent) over estimate. Since this overage was stronger and more consistent than
normal variations, the Conference upped the new estimates.
The Conference increased its estimates by $296.0 million for FY2014-15 and by $331.9
million for FY2015-16. GR collections are now estimated to total $27.485 billion this
year and $28.578 next year, showing annual growth of 4.9 percent and 4.0 percent,
CHANGES IN GR ESTIMATES
NEW GENERAL REVENUE ESTIMATES
ADD $627 MILLION TO THE STATEâ€™S
COFFERS FOR THE NEXT BUDGET YEAR
The sales tax, by far the stateâ€™s largest revenue source, accounts for most of the
additional money in the estimate, and was increased by $384.2 million over the
two-year period. Spurred by greater activity than expected in the housing market,
estimates for documentary stamp taxes were increased by $138.3 million, and
for intangibles taxes by $32.6 million. The est