Issues of Interest

General revenue tax collections continue to improve, largely due to increased sales tax collections. The September collections were $54.6 million over earlier projections and general revenue is $162.2 million above estimates for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Florida has significantly reduced its outstanding debt by $1.5 billion this fiscal year compared to $500 million last fiscal year. Continued refinancing of the State debt could save more than $1 billion on future interest payments.

Florida has seen the largest drop in seasonably adjusted unemployment in the country since December 2010. Florida’s unemployment rate has now declined from 11.1% in 2010, to the September preliminary rate of 8.7%. The State has also experienced positive job growth for 26 consecutive months.

The overall crime rate has dropped statewide in the first half of 2012 to the lowest level in 41 years. Crime fell by 3.8 percent from the same period a year ago. Even sharper reductions occurred in violent crimes, down 5.3 percent, and in domestic violence incidents, down by more than 5 percent. Efforts to combat pill mills and automobile insurance fraud combined with improved law enforcement training and technology are all cited as key reasons for the declines in all categories.

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