Return Florida's state and local spending to at least the 2004 level
"Return Florida's state and local expenditure burden to at least the 2004 level before spending ballooned out of control."
Subjects: State Budget
State spending has dropped, local spending less clear
Updated: Friday, January 6th, 2012 | By Amy Sherman
As part of his "7-7-7" economic plan, Rick Scott promised to return state and local government expenditures to at least the 2004 level, before, as Scott put it, "spending ballooned out of control."
At the stave level, Scott is already there.
Looking at general revenue expenditures, which are the funds Scott has the most control over, budgeted expenses in 2004-05 totaled about $24.5 billion. In 2011-12 budgeted expenses totaled about $23.2 billion.
There is a small caveat to these figures. Scott and the Legislature have used state trust fund dollars to help fund general revenue projects by "sweeping" trust funds. The 2011-12 budget included nearly $389 million in trust fund sweeps and Scott's proposed 2012-13 budget includes $147 million in sweeps.
As for the local level, the picture is less clear.
The Florida Association of Counties directed us to their report about preliminary county property taxes, which showed in fiscal year 2012 counties had about $8.53 billion in tax levies -- a level slightly below 2005 and above the 2004 figure of $7.64 billion.
"If current economic trends continue, counties will remain near or below 2004-05 revenue levels until after 2013-14...," the report states. "Three major factors have impacted property taxes in Florida since 2007: the recession and resulting decline in property values, the implementation of the roll back rates (2007) and Amendment 1 (2008)."
Meanwhile, we found Florida Department of Revenue data showing that cities collected of about $3.4 billion 2010-11 compared to $2.8 billion in 2004-05. This isn't a perfect apples to apples comparison however since there are new cities since 2004. Department of Revenue data shows $8.8 billion in school operating taxes collected for 2004 compared to about $11.09 billion in 2010-11.
Those figures are taxes collected, which isn't necessarily the same as expenditures.
While Scott seems to be on solid ground on the state level, we need more time to understand the expenditure picture at the local level and what Scott did to control local taxes. For now, we rate this promise In the Works.
Florida Association of Counties, "2011 County Property Tax Summary Preliminary," Accessed Dec. 27, 2011
Florida Department of Economic and Demographic Research, Florida Revenue Estimating Conference, Fall 2010
Florida Legislature, Fiscal analysis in brief, August 2011
Florida Department of Revenue, "2004 Florida property valuations and tax data," April 2006
Gov. Rick Scott's communications office, Responses to PolitiFact's questions about the Scott-O-Meter, Dec. 28, 2011
Interview, Cragin Mosteller, spokeswoman for the Florida Association of Counties, Dec. 27, 2011
Florida 2004-05 budget
Florida 2011-12 budget
We want to hear your suggestions and comments. Email the Florida Truth-O-Meter with feedback and with claims you'd like to see checked. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.