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Revenue Estimating Conference

Florida’s revenue picture improves a little — but not enough to really matter

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The Legislature will have $271 million more than it expected to spend this year, but close to 90 percent of the new money is a one-shot deal, and won’t help budget writers with ongoing demands upon a state budget projected at close to $83 billion. State economists arrived at their new forecast during a revenue estimating conference Friday. Total general revenues will near $32.4 billion, representing dependable flows of money to pay for most of the state’s needs, not counting taxes pledged to…

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Senate Finance & Tax Appropriations Committee OK’s ‘tampon tax’ exemption

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A bill to repeal the so-called “tampon tax” cleared another hurdle, passing a key Senate appropriations committee Wednesday. The Senate Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee approved a proposal (SB 176) to make feminine hygiene products, like tampons, exempt from state sales and use tax. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, now heads to the full Appropriations Committee. Only a handful — including Maryland, including Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania — have created a tax exemption for these products, according to a June…

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Forecast shows state losing millions yearly because of tax cuts

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The state’s economic forecasters are predicting a hit to state coffers in years ahead because of tax breaks passed this legislative session. The losses total in the tens of millions each year until 2021, according to a report posted online Tuesday. Still, the lost revenue per year counts as less than a percent of the state’s annual budget, which this year is roughly $82 billion. And despite the tax cuts, the state’s Financial Outlook Statement shows general revenue should nonetheless grow every year. The Revenue Estimating Conference,…

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Florida Lottery revenue on rise

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Higher Cash 3 and Play 4 sales, as well as increased scratch-off ticket sales, have led to a growth in Florida Lottery revenue, according to the state’s economic forecasters. Total ticket sales were $79 million over estimate for July-November of this year, the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference reported earlier this month. At the same time, sales of Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto and Lucky Money have gone down, the report said. Lottery proceeds benefit the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which helps pay for public education.…

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Forecast uncertain for gaming revenue as Seminole compact still unresolved

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The state Revenue Estimating Conference, a panel of economists gathered to discuss revenue levels expected to flow into state coffers from gaming proceeds Wednesday afternoon, including from the banked card games and Las Vegas-style slots the Seminole Tribe of Florida operate under an exclusive compact with the state. The consensus, now that the deal has expired: no one is really sure. The economists, like the rest of state government, are navigating unchartered territory. Since the sovereign tribe’s compact with the…

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Is it “expanding gambling” to sell lottery tickets at gas pumps?

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Legislation is moving in the Legislature that would allow people to buy their lottery tickets at the gas pump despite a lingering question that the measure is an expansion of gambling. The question is more than moral or academic: Expanded gambling is a condition for the Seminole Tribe of Florida to stop sharing revenue from its casinos. The tribe kicks more than $200 million a year into state coffers. “Any expansion of gaming or use of lottery vending machines, beyond what…

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The day that was in Florida politics — March 10

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No movement Tuesday in clearing up confusion over next year’s state budget. While state economists counted up how much money Florida will have to spend for the year beginning July 1, the stances of the players involved seemed to harden.  The Revenue Estimating Conference met but by sunset had yet to release the report lawmakers will use to build next year’s spending plan. Projections through December had a billion dollars more in the general revenue fund than there was last…

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