Report: Florida faces tough economic path listen07/21/09 Mitch E. Perry
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As the recession continues and the unemployment rate has now risen to its highest level in the Sunshine state since the Ford administration, a new report paints a bleak look at the economic future of the state.
The study comes from the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy (FCFEP) in Tallahassee, which conducts independent research on state fiscal issues.
Their report begins by listing some dubious statistics. Such as, that the state’s high school graduation rate and its health system are both ranked 45th in the country, while tens of thousands of the state’s elderly and disabled are on waiting lists for services and generally wait years to gain access to programs they need.
John Hall is the executive Director with FCFEP. He said that the rather sudden drop in people moving to Florida is only making things worse in the state.
Hall says Florida has relied on 2.5 percent growth in the state population for years, but that growth has slowed dramatically in the past couple of years, and probably will not increase anytime soon.
He also agrees with other economists, that the state needs to take a serious, ‘long overdue’ effort to modernize its tax structure to make taxes and tax exemptions fairer.
The report from FCFEP also suggests that the state needs to become more serious about investing in public schools, community colleges and universities. It’s a prescription that other think tanks and non-profit agencies have suggested over the years, to little avail in the Republican dominated state legislature. We asked John Hall why his report might be any different than the others that seemingly collect dust on a bookshelf.
To read the FCFEP report, go to fcfep.org