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Florida Government Spending Report
CONCLUSIONS & ACTIONS Section
by Michael Hodges
- notice > updated March 2004 -
- a chapter of the Grandfather Economic Reports -
State + Local Government Totals
|Gov't. Spending 2000
||$ 84 Billion
||$ 52 Billion
- Record keeping is minimal at best for consolidated
state and local government spending and employee counts in Florida, as relating to
long-term historical trends. For regulatory compliance costs to the State's private sector
from federal, state and local government mandates, no records were found.
- The records that were found indicate state and local
government spending and employee count (the government sector) ratios to population and
gross state product are double what they should be (see above table), compared to
prior generations. As a result, the free-market private sector has a smaller share of the
State's economy than what it has had in prior generations.
- Trends of such are up dramatically, in a most dangerous
- The charts of this report 'scream' PRIVATIZE,
PRIVATIZE, PRIVATIZE - - large chunks of Florida state & local government.
- There is no evidence of any state-wide review and
budget process regarding setting targets to return state & local government spending
to 6% of gross state product (GSP) (or, even to the 12% ratio), form its current level of
19% share of the economy. It is as if the size of government relative to the economy is of
zero interest to leaders.
- There appears to be no central State agency charged
with the responsibility to maintain and annually publish clean, up-to-date, long-term
historic records on consolidated spending and headcounts for all Florida state & local
governments, broken down into state only, local governments (as shown in this report
series), and summation of these - - to render a clear report of trends of various elements
and ratios to gross state product, to personal income and to population.
- Considering the rapid growth of local government
spending, relative to the size of the economy, the Governor's Office and the Legislature
must organize to pay attention to this area, in addition to state-only. In speaking with
many state officials, while gathering data for this report, it is apparent that their
focus is ONLY to revenues flowing to the State, and appropriations (spending authority)
from the Legislature - - and budget reporting flowing from same. No emphasis was realized
considering direct state and local government spending and headcounts, and trends of
ratios of same to GSP and population. These ratios should be known, AND budgeted. If at
state level comprehensive planning is mandated on local governments, then why is not
reporting and budgeting mandated for certain key ratios like local government size
relative to the economy?
- Further, there appears to be zero source of clean
records of regulatory cost burdens on the state's private sector as necessary to comply
with federal, or state, or local government mandates. Such records should be developed and
include a historical perspective, including annual reporting - with consideration given to
budget said costs.
- The cabinet and legislature should have these annual
reports to enable them to know the direction of key indicators relative to the share of
the state's economy (and trends) for government spending and mandates vs. that part
remaining being the pure-private sector's share of the state's economy.
- From the data at hand for this report, the resulting
charts reveal a spending spree at state and local government levels, out of line
with population and growth of the general economy. Excess spending of at least $31
Billion, and excess government employee count of 300,000, is indicated.
- Education: the author was unable to find clean
education performance data, such as long-term relation of SAT scores to real per student
spending for public and private primary & secondary schools in Florida - - such that a
similar review as performed by the author for nation-wide results - as published in the
nation-wide Education Report linked from the first page of this report. There is no doubt
in the author's mind that data for Florida would also reflect the very poor performance
for quality and spending efficiency shown nation-wide, compared to foreign nations and to
- Demographics cannot be used by apologists to justify
the increased ratios for state & local government spending and employee counts on
education demands, since: the youth population (ages 0-19) will grow about as fast as
overall population. In 1980, persons aged 0 to 19 numbered 2,688,114, making up 27.6
percent of the total population. In 1990, there were 3,232,455 persons in this age group
(25.0 percent of the population). In 2000 there will be 3,883,988 persons age 19 and
younger, representing 25.2 percent of the total and in 2010, this age group will number
4,289,352 and represent 24.1 percent of the total state population. Concerning the aged:
In 1980, there were 1,687,573 Floridians aged 65 and older (17.3 percent of the total
population). The 1990 census enumerated 2,355,926 elderly (18.2 percent of total). A major
concern will be the slow growth among those in the prime labor force age group (ages
25-59). In the future, the proportion of the total population this group represents is
expected to begin falling, declining modestly from 45.6 percent of the population in 2000
to 44.1 percent by 2010 with more rapid declines after 2010.Data source: Economic and Demographic
Research Division Report - Joint
Legislative Management Committee, Florida Legislature.
- AUTHOR NOTE: since the growth rate of Florida's total
population is slowing down, it is even more imperative that government spending and
employee count ratios be targeted for significant reductions. Since state & local
government employees have been rising much faster than the general population, and this is
the very age group in the population at large that is slowing down - then it is obvious
that the non-government employee portion is under great pressure to finance this
government expansion. A reduction of government headcounts, converting same to the private
sector, should greatly enhance Florida's economic future - - compared to non-action.
- The Governor's Office and the Legislature should
mandate record keeping and reporting according to the above for state direct and local
government by entity, showing also historic results.
- The charts presented in this Grandfather Florida
Government Spending Report should be up-dated according to data from the above, and
discussions held to establish budget goals in terms of ratios - - with targets set to
return spending and headcount ratios to that of prior years - - in order not to burden the
next generation more so than that of prior generations.
- Available data indicates that headcount and spending
levels for state & local government may be as much as 100% too high - - meaning $31
Billion to much as of 2000 (and 284,000 employees too much as of 1992).
- Interim targets should be budgeted to cut the
spending ratio so it does not exceed 11.7% of GSP and headcount ratios not to exceed 2.8%
of the population, such that today's young generation will not be expected to carry on
their backs a higher ratio than prior generations of 1957. Actually, final targets should
be set below these ratios - closer to 6% of GSP for spending, and 2% headcounts to
- Action plans to privatize large segments of state
& local government are indicated as needed. This should be done in a manner as to
also eliminate government from the revenue streams of said privatization, or government
effective control of said portion of the economy has not been reduced. In other words,
government should 'sell' selected operations to the highest bidder in the private sector
in such a manner as to phase-down government involvement.
COMMENT: the author hopes this report provides
useful information to assist those of responsibility to take proper actions to assure that
our young generation is not required to carry more government spending and employees, than
prior generations. Comments and areas of action have been discussed in this report, for
the purpose of stimulating discussion. The author would appreciate hearing from others
with different comments and action suggestions. With 19% of the economy dependent upon
state & local government spending ($84 Billion), there are obviously powerful forces
aligned against reducing government share of the economy.
NOTE: the author requests that additional data
(especially for periods before 1957 and after 1992), corrections, and omissions by email
to help make this report as accurate as possible. EMAIL author
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