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Speaker Oliva Launches New Rankings Website, Grading Local Governments on Spending, Debt & More

The Taxpayer Accountability & Transparency Project (TATP) Will Help Residents See How Florida’s City, County Governments Compare


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida residents now have a new tool to see and compare how their taxpayer dollars are being put to work. The Florida House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Jose R. Oliva, today launched www.floridataxpayers.com, an interactive website with downloadable report cards that show rankings and letter grades for every county and municipality in the state. 

“The Taxpayers Accountability & Transparency Project (TATP) and the Local Government Report Card was designed to help empower Floridians with real, up-to-date data about the performance of their local governments,” said Speaker Oliva. “This project gives residents a useful tool to help them make educated judgments and hold their elected officials accountable.” 

The TATP website features rankings (as grades) for cities and counties in five distinct categories: 

  • Government spending, which includes data on six-year average per capita spending and total dollar increase in spending

  • Government debt, which includes data on six-year average per capita debt and total dollar increase in debt

  • Government size, which includes data on the percent of government spending on salaries and benefits, full-time government employees per 100,000 residents, and average public employee salary

  • Crime, which includes data on violent crime rate, property crime rate (including arson), and total crime clearance rate

  • Education, which includes data on average school grade and graduation rate

Each county and municipal budget officer is required, by October 15 of each year, to submit specified information regarding the final budget and the economic status of the local government*. That data was collected from counties and municipalities throughout the latter portion of 2019; all other publicly available data (i.e., crime and education) was collected during January 2020. All counties submitted the information required by law, however, 80 cities did not submit or submitted incomplete information. As a result, those cities received “F” grades for their non-compliance. 

Only raw and per-capita data was considered with no value judgments made regarding the relative importance of any one factor over any other.

To calculate the overall rankings and grades for each category, each data factor in a category was ranked. These were then averaged together and ranked again. Grades were then assigned so that “A” represents the top quartile of performers, “B” the second highest, “C” the third highest, and “D” represents the bottom quartile of performers. “F” was reserved for counties and cities that failed to deliver their data. Cities that were too small to have certain data points were left unranked and labeled N/A on the report card where they had missing data for a category. 


This project does not attempt to rate or compare the quality of life, infrastructure, or any other qualitative factor for cities or counties. Rather, it is up to local residents to view how their city or county compares with others of its size with those types of value judgments in mind. 

“If someone is satisfied with their county’s or city’s spending and debt and thinks that funds have been properly used, that is a positive outcome for this analysis,” Oliva said. “On the other hand, if someone believes their county’s or city’s spending is too high and feels that their quality of life or infrastructure is unfavorable, this project may help inspire them to get involved in their local government’s funding decisions moving forward.” 


For more information, visit www.floridataxpayers.com

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*The county reporting requirement can be found at s.129.03(3)(d), F.S., and the municipal reporting requirement can be found at s.166.241(4), F.S.

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