By: Igor Lukashevich and Nadia James
The top six Florida counties for revenue intake per capita are as follows: Duval, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Franklin, Charlotte, and Collier. Total revenues for counties follow very closely with total expenditures, as the same six counties also topped the list for expenditures per capita. This relationship makes sense because the more that a county takes in, the more it can spend.
Duval County obtains roughly 46 percent of its revenue from charges for various government services. Since Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida, accounting for nearly 95 percent of the county’s population, Duval is able to collect more revenue from services like transportation, utilities, and public safety than most other Florida counties. Interestingly, however, Duval County obtains a very small portion of its revenues from property taxes. Property taxes account for only about 9 percent of Duval’s total revenues, the lowest percentage in Florida. Miami-Dade County follows a similar pattern, with 41 percent of its revenue coming from charges for services and only 13 percent of its revenue coming from property taxes (65th lowest out of 67 counties).
Franklin County, located in the Panhandle along the Gulf Coast, obtains nearly a third of its revenue from property taxes, with another sizeable chunk coming from charges for government services. Despite having a population of only about 11,000 people, Franklin is home to several large preserved areas and rivers, and large commercial timber and commercial fishing industries. These industries utilize considerable energy and space for production purposes, translating into property and service tax revenue for the county. The businesses are also eligible to receive subsidies, explaining why Franklin County receives a significant portion of its revenue from state grants.
Monroe and Collier counties are some of the richest in Florida based on median household income. They also receive more revenue per capita than many of the other less populous counties. Property taxes account for 27.84 percent of Collier’s and 20.71 percent of Monroe’s revenue, with charges for services accounting for a significant portion as well (28.76 percent for Collier and 19.55 percent for Monroe). Monroe County also contains part of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve and Key West, which all receive substantial federal grants. In fact 7.2 percent of its budget, $27,239,977, is made up of federal grants compared to 3.6 percent for the average county.
The counties that accumulate the most revenue are not necessarily the most populous. Some counties, such as Collier, Monroe, and Franklin, enjoy a large tax base simply by virtue of having many high value homes and capital intensive businesses inside their territories. And so, the top counties’ revenues are not based solely upon the number of people who reside there to pay taxes, but also on income received from the use of their natural resources and profitable industries.