Politics of Florida
Politics of Florida reflect a state that has experienced conflict between its liberal southeastern region and its traditionally conservative northern region. Politics often revolve around budgeting and how money for budgets should be raised.
Florida is one of the nine states that do not impose a personal income tax (list of others). The state had imposed a tax on "intangible personal property" (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money market funds, etc.), but this tax was abolished after 2006. The state sales tax rate is 6%. Local governments may levy an additional local option sales tax of up to 1.5%. A locale's use tax rate is the same as its sales tax rate, including local options, if any. Use taxes are payable for purchases made out of state and brought into Florida within six months of the purchase date. Documentary stamps are required on deed transfers and mortgages. Other taxes include corporate income, communication services, unemployment, solid waste, insurance premium, pollutants, and various fuel taxes.
In 2011, Medicaid costs were 20% of the budget. These are mandated by the federal government. While the state administers the program, it has no actual control over expenses. From 2000 to 2010, Medicaid costs rose from $8 billion to $18 billion.
Education costs were 30% of the budget.
The $70 billion budget for 2010-11 contained the following allocations:
- Health and Social Services $30 billion
- Education $21.2 billion
- Transportation $7.9 billion
- Criminal Justice and Corrections $4.5 billion
- General government $4 billion
- Natural Resources and Environment $3 billion
- Reserves $2.28 billion
- Courts $459 million
In 2011, illegal immigrants were estimated to cost the Florida government $700 million. This included $548 million for children (excluding American-born children of undocumented aliens). Average student cost is $9,035. There are an estimated 60,750 illegal immigrant children of school age. There are 5,641 illegals in Florida prisons at an average cost of $18,980 annually, for a total of $107 million. A 2003 study indicated unpaid hospital costs of $40 million annually.
High level state officers use one of two airplanes to get around Florida. Flights take 90 minutes to get from the capital at Tallahassee to Miami. In February 2011, Governor Scott directed the sale of both airplanes.
In 2011, as a result of Governor Rick Scott's executive order, the department required that all workers be verified as U.S. citizens with e-verify. This applied to contracts and funds otherwise under the jurisdiction of local government.
Florida is one of several states where the courts are required to be involved in every step of the foreclosure process. By 2012, it took three years to complete the process. In nonjudicial states, it takes an average of 100 days. As a result of the United States housing bubble, there is a large backlog of housing that is in the foreclosure process but unavailable to the market. This overhang has had a detrimental affect on the housing market.
Florida is considered "accommodating" to guns, by national standards. There are 56 laws relating to owning, transporting, and using guns. "open carries" are nearly always illegal. Convicted felons have few rights to gun possession.
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- "Florida Sales and Use Tax". State of Florida. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
- Reed, Matt (23 January 2011). "GOP has changes planned this year". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). pp. 1B.
- Reed, Matt (April 28, 2011). "Watchdog:Medicaid, education key issues". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). pp. 1B.
- Cottrell, Bill (May 7, 2011). "Senate passes budget". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). pp. 1A.
- Reed, Matt (25 January 2011). "$700M paid for illegal migrants". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). pp. 1B.
- Flemming, Paul (7 February 2010). "State sees drop in plane use". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1A.
- , Announcement from the Governor's Office.
- "City must 'E-verify' workers as legal". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). 6 March 2011. pp. 1A.
- Fishkind, Hank (February 2, 2013). "Lawmakers can help boost economy". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). pp. 4B.
- "Owners face dovetailed laws, rights". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). February 3, 2013. pp. 1A.