Job Losses Drove Medicaid Growth; Program Didn’t Cause Florida's Budget Woes | Print |  E-mail
April 2011

Legislators continue to identify Medicaid as the albatross hanging from its neck as it works through the budget-setting process for 2011-12.  But it is well established that Medicaid is neither spiraling out of control nor the cause of the state's budget woes.

Significant increases in Medicaid enrollment (and therefore Medicaid spending) and reductions in state revenue are simultaneous consequences of the same recession.

It is clear that reductions in income and lapses in health coverage associated with job loss are the key drivers in the growth of Florida Medicaid.

> Read the report.

Tax Giveaways to Corporations Deserve a Look on Tax Day | Print |  E-mail
April 2011

As Floridians file their federal income tax returns -- some marking Tax Day with objections to the level of taxation and government spending -- it is useful to remember all the different ways state government spends tax dollars.

Often overlooked are the many programs that give away tax money collected from Floridians to select corporations while the legislature cuts appropriations for vital services and considers giving more money for “economic development incentives".

Whether the "incentives" work to create jobs, or whether they merely reward corporations for activities they would have done anyway, is open to question.

Official state reports suggest that half or more of the companies receiving incentive funds would have expanded or relocated in Florida anyway, even without receiving tax dollars.

> Read the report.

Medicaid Holds Down Costs Better Than Private Insurance Plans | Print |  E-mail
April 2011

Florida House and Senate leaders have relentlessly attacked the Medicaid program for purported runaway spending growth, blaming the program for the state's budget woes and demanding relief from even the most basic federal standards.

But historical data reveals that, on a per-person basis, Medicaid has contained costs more effectively than private health insurance.

The underlying problem propelling the rise in both public and private health insurance costs is the growth in health care costs generally.  Although Medicaid has kept rising costs in check more effectively, its long-term sustainability nevertheless ultimately depends on controlling the growth in health care costs overall.

> Read the report.

Even as It Cuts Spending, Legislature Considers More Tax Cuts | Print |  E-mail
April 2011

Even as the Florida Senate and House of Representatives approve budgets balanced "on the backs of the poor, sick and public employees," legislators are proposing more special-interest tax breaks that lead to draconian budget cuts.

Each of these bills provides breaks to selected beneficiaries and reduces the revenue available to pay for vital state services like education, health care, law enforcement, and transportation.

> Read the report.

The State of the State of Florida: Near the Bottom of the Nation | Print |  E-mail
March 2011

As legislators continue action on issues affecting the well-being of Floridians, it's useful to measure the needs facing the state.

On many comparisons with other states on education, health and human services, and tax fairness, Florida ranks near the bottom of the nation.

The rankings paint a picture of a state with millions of residents needing jobs, services, and other supports from state government as they struggle to make ends meet.

> Read The State of the State of Florida.

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