VOTER EDUCATION

Perhaps, rather than complaining about the political process, becoming better informed voters should be a goal of Florida’s citizens.

This series is designed to provide some of the information citizens need to cast their votes for candidates who share their priorities. It will focus on Florida and will not address national issues.

The Public Service Funding Mystery Series begins with Episode 1 – Where does the Money come from? And is accompanied by:

2 – Where does the Money go?

3 – The Department of Children and Families

4 – The Department of Juvenile Justice

5 – Prekindergarten – Grade 12 Public Education

6 – What should our priorities be?

Episode 1 – Where does the Money come from to fund public services?

On March 19th, the Florida Legislature adopted its 2020-2021 annual appropriations budget which totaled $93.2 billion. Florida’s constitution requires a balanced budget which means that spending cannot exceed the funds coming into the state treasury.

Money coming into the state treasury comes primarily from state and federal sources:

State – 64%:

  • General revenue – 37% – Sales tax, corporate income tax and other taxes & fees
  • Trust fund revenue – 27% – Tax revenue whose use is restricted (doc stamps, gas taxes, etc.)
  • The Florida Lottery – Part of the 27%

Federal grants for – 36%:

  • Medical care – 19%
  • Transportation – 3%
  • Food Services – 2%
  • Other – 12%

Public services are also funded by sources other than the state annual appropriations budget:

Local – The Florida constitution requires local taxes be spent locally:

  • Local property taxes distributed to city and county governments
  • Local property taxes for school operations – millage rate set by the state legislature
  • Local property taxes for school capital improvement – millage rate set by the state legislature
  • Local sales and property tax referendums – passed in local elections
  • Local revenue such as impact fees on new residential construction
  • Grants and donations from charitable organizations

Federal:

  • Federal grants directly to schools, departments, and agencies

A few places where more money can come from:

  • Legislation to collect sales tax on purchases from out of state or out of country sellers – Approaching $1 billion annually & growing rapidly.
  • Coming to agreement with the Seminole Tribe on how much gambling revenue they are willing to share so that money can begin flowing to the state treasury.