Growth Management:  Beyond Land and Water Use Issues

Material Information

Growth Management: Beyond Land and Water Use Issues
Brad Robbins, October 1983


Subjects / Keywords:
Older adults ( jstor )
Population growth ( jstor )
Taxes ( jstor )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida


Jake Varn Collection - Growth Management: Beyond Land and Water Use Issues (JDV Box 89)
General Note:
Box 19, Folder 1 ( Growth Management Conference - 1983 ), Item 4
Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location:
Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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By Mr. Brad Robbins

October, 1983

Traditionally, land and water use issues have dominated

growth management discussions. Florida's growth rate, however,

dictates a broader approach to growth management than this.

It is hard to imagine any aspect of our society that will

not be affected by Florida's unprecedented growth rate. Criminal

justice and transportation are population growth related issues

that, in the past two years, have received lawmakers' attention.

In both cases, the legislature raised taxes in order to satisfy

the public's demand for improvement in these areas.

In addition to land and water use, growth management

issues include, but are not limited to, infrastructure, housing,

pollution, transportation, and social concerns.

Three other growth related subjects will receive further

examination in this paper. They are the elderly, the economy,

and political trends. These subjects were selected to illustrate

the breadth of Florida's growth management considerations. It is

important to note, however, that all growth management issues are

interrelated. A single quick fix is unlikely to solve the longer

term problems of a 49.7 percent population increase between 1980

and the year 2000.

This report utilizes population projections made by the

Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) of the University

of Florida. These projections, the official state estimates,

tend to be lower than United States Bureau of the Census figures.

BEBR's projections also tend to be somewhat higher than Revenue

Estimating Conference projections.


Official Florida population estimates project that

Florida's population will increase 49.7 percent between 1980 and

the year 2000. This represents a population increase of

5,073,376. If these population growth projections prove to be

accurate, Florida can expect over 600 people to move to the state

every day through the turn of the century.

As astounding as these projections are, the rate at which

the state is growing older is even greater.


Florida as the Nation's Role Model

Florida's median age has increased 7.4 percent to 34.7

since 1970. During the same period, the median age for the

nation as a whole increased 6.7 percent to 30.0.

Right now, 17.3 percent of Florida's population is over

sixty-five years old compared to an 11.3 percent figure for the

nation as a whole. In the year 2000, the state's population mix

will reflect 18.7 percent of its residents over the age of sixty-

five while the nation's population mix of over sixty-five will

increase to 13.8 percent. Thus, while the nation probably will

not attain the same elderly population mix as Florida in the

foreseeable future, its proportion of older citizens will

continue to increase. Accordingly, many states will look to

Florida as an example of how to cope with a population that is

growing older.

Is Florida's Elderly Population an Economic Benefit?

Retirees moving to Florida, at least in the short run,

benefit the state's economy by purchasing residences, shifting

their savings to Florida financial institutions, and paying

taxes. The fixed income of many retirees also serves as a very

stable tax source for the state.

The longer term benefits of retired citizens on Florida's

economy are, however, unclear. Eventually, many retirees become

recipients of services provided by the state's social programs.

A 1974 Federal study found that only three men in 1000 aged 55-64

are in nursing homes at a given time. But among the 65-74 age

group, the ratio shoots to eleven per 1000. At 74-84, it leaps

to forty per 1000,, and at eighty-five and older it is 180 per

1000. Among elderly women, who normally live longer and,

therefore, use long-term nursing facilities more heavily, the

ratio increase is even steeper.

Significantly, within the broad category defined as

elderly, the fastest growing age sector is eighty-five years and

above, which is projected to grow by 178.3 percent to 326,600

people by the year 2000. This indicates that many residents who

do not require institutionalized care now, may very well need it

in the near future.

Health Care's Rising Importance

Health care requirements are another major consideration

when evaluating the elderly's impact on Florida's economy. In

the past, institutionalization was the primary method of coping

with senior citizens who were not entirely self-sufficient.

Recently, however, there has been a shift towards home health

care. The goal of this movement is to prevent or delay the

institutionalization of the elderly who are still able to live at

home but need some assistance to do so. Florida has participated

in this movement through Community Care for the Elderly.

The home health care philosophy has at least two clear


1. Home health care is an acknowledgment of respect for

an individual's desire to live at home if he chooses to do


2. Home health care is less expensive than nursing

homes. Community Care for the Elderly is estimated to

have cost $1,679 less per client than institutional costs

during the most recent fiscal year, for a total cost

avoidance of $13.5 million.

Community Care for the Elderly has seen its costs swell

from $750,000 in 1978 to the current $15 million. It is now able

to provide services to about 15,000 of some 100,000 people who

need it. In order to maintain this minimum level of service, the

state needs to prepare to spend larger amounts of money to

shoulder the burden of the elderly's medical expenses.

The increased demand for assistance is the result of

several trends; reduced federal support for Medicaid (which is

expected to be cut even further), increased health care costs,

inflation eroded purchasing power of retirees' pension benefits

and retirement savings, and a growing number of senior citizens

who need assistance. There is every reason to believe that these

factors will continue to force Florida to shoulder an increasing

percentage of the elderly's health care costs.


Based on BEBR population projections, by the year 2000,

Florida's economy will need to generate 1,862,997 jobs in order

to employ the same proportion of the population as is employed

today. Most likely, the job market will need to expand even

greater than 1.8 million jobs. The computation does not take

into account a growing percentage of women and elderly who will

seek to enter the work force. This job growth figure also

reflects the current 8.8 percent unemployment rate, which is high

by historical standards. In order to reduce this rate, job

opportunities will have to expand faster than 1.7 percent

annually for the next 20 years.

Manufacturing Jobs Targeted

In order to minimize the impact of the nation's business

cycle on Florida's economy, the state has moved to develop its

manufacturing sector. From 1970 to 1980, Florida added 134,700

manufacturing jobs. Employment in Florida's manufacturing sector

grew by 13,470 jobs, or 3.6 percent annually. During the same

period the annual manufacturing employment growth rate was .5


The Department of Commerce has targeted several high

technology areas for its relocation efforts. These areas

include: defense contractors, aviation, pharmaceuticals,

instrumentation, and communication. Due to Florida's large

agricultural production, food processing is also a targeted


Between 1975 and 1982, the state added 58,125 high

technology manufacturing jobs. This 16.6 percent annual rate

growth represents an average annual increase of 8,303 high tech


Film Industry to Increase Economic Presence

The Motion Picture and Television Bureau works to

encourage the development of the motion picture industry,

including television commercial and sponsored film industry,

foreign film and tape production, and the music industry.

Florida currently ranks third among states with over $142 million

spent by the industry in Florida in 1982. This industry should

continue to strengthen its impact on Florida's economy.

International Trade to Gain in Importance

Another area of Department of Commerce concentration has

been international trade. International trade offers Florida the

means to mitigate adverse effects of the national business cycle.

International trade also serves as a means to diversify an

economy susceptible to downturns in the tourism, construction and

agriculture industries. Total trade grew from $2 billion in 1971

to over $18 billion in 1981, an 800 percent increase.

Several factors contribute to Florida's current and future

trade growth.

One factor is Florida's proximity to the

expanding markets in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Domestic and foreign firms seeking access to Latin

America and Caribbean markets will continue to base

their operations in the state.

The second factor in Florida's international

trade success is Florida's diversified financial

network. As of September, 1983, forty-four Edge Act

banks were open and operating in Florida. There were

also forty-six State or Federal licensed foreign

agency banks either operating, approved but unopened,

or seeking application approval.

Another reason Florida has a bright future in

international trade is its refugee population. Many

of the early Cuban refugees (1959-1966) were

experienced business persons who were forced to leave

commercial interests behind. These refugees have

become instrumental to trading in Latin American

markets. Spain has recently launched an aggressive

trade program with Florida, citing the state's large

Spanish speaking population as a prime reason for its



Tourism will continue to be a significant factor in

Florida's economic future. 35.9 million people visited Florida

in 1980. This figure is expected to rise thirty-three percent,

to 48 million in 1990.

Traditional Industries Shifting

The construction industry was particularly hard hit by the

recession Florida experienced in the 1970s. Higher financing

costs will have a dampening effect on the single-family housing

market. Multi-family housing, both ownership and rental, will

combine with manufactured housing to accommodate a growing

percentage of Florida's new residents.

An increase in manufacturing and service employment will

combine with a continuing loss of agricultural land to hasten the

diminution of agriculture as a central element in Florida's


A New Source of Job Growth

An emerging concept that will receive greater attention in

the future is state involvement in entrepreneurial development.

This trend capitalizes on the huge increase in new jobs created

by the start up and expansion of small firms, particularly but

not limited to the high technology field. By assisting the start

up of businesses, the state hopes to cultivate a rich source of

jobs and tax revenue. The state will likely increase its efforts

in this area.


Urban Issues Will Receive Greater Priority

Most of the population growth in the 1970s occurred in

Florida's urban areas, primarily along the coast and especially

in the southernmost portion of the state. Thus when the

legislature reapportioned itself in 1982, the urban areas gained

representation at the expense of rural portions of the state.

This trend is likely to continue as 85.5 percent of the next

decade's growth will be concentrated in the state's urban areas.

Single-Member Districts Will Enhance Minority Representation

The trend toward increased minority representation was

evident in the 1983 legislature. While there are still no

hispanic senators, the number of black senators increased from

none in the 1981-82 sessions to two in the 1983-84 sessions. In

the House, the number of blacks increased from five to ten, and

the number of hispanics increased from one to three.

The elderly are an especially potent political contingent,

yet their representation in the state legislature does not

reflect the large number of elderly citizens in the state. Even

though people over sixty-five years of age constitute 17.3

percent of Florida's population, currently only 7.5 percent of

the legislators are over sixty years of age. This fact is

difficult to understand considering the high percentage of

elderly who vote. Seventy-five percent of the elderly are

registered to vote and sixty-one percent voted in the 1976

election, versus sixty-one percent registration and forty-seven

percent voting by Floridians as a whole.


As is the case with the elderly, the demographics indicate

that women are underrepresented in the Florida Legislature.

While women comprise fifty-two percent of Florida's population,

they constitute only 17.5 percent of the Florida Legislature.


There are several considerations to Florida's growth

management issue. A top priority is to develop land use policies

that protect Florida's environment. This question is continuing

to receive its share of legislative attention.

A second area of concern is the status of the state's

economic development program. Florida has made significant

advances towards diversifying its economic base. Through

international trade and manufacturing, the state has maintained a

lower than national average unemployment rate through the current


In the past, a key to Florida's success in attracting

manufacturing firms has been the low tax burden on citizens and

corporations (no personal income tax and relatively low corporate

taxes). Recently, Florida's legislators have altered Florida's

attractiveness to industry. This year the state legislature

raised its gasoline, corporate, and alcoholic beverage taxes by

$317 million. The imposition of these taxes, particularly the

unitary tax, may have altered the state's image in the eyes of

the national and international business community. Further

increases in taxes, which seem inevitable to support continued

growth, may result in fewer relocations to Florida.

If Florida's population were projected to remain stable,

or even increase moderately over the next 20 years, this change

in attitude towards economic development probably would not

portend any major difficulties for the state. Florida's

population, however, is projected to increase rapidly.

It is not at all clear that the state's employment

opportunities will expand as fast as the demand for jobs. There

will be competition among job seekers due to several factors. In

addition to people migrating to the state, there will be an

increase in the percentage of residents entering the labor force.

Many elderly citizens will discover that their incomes are

insufficient and will seek employment. Florida can also expect

an increase in the percentage of women who will be entering the

work force.

The possibility of a growing percentage of unemployed

Floridians looms as a very real concern. This possibility is

especially important in light of current moves to reduce the

state's budget. Large budget cuts could minimize the state's

ability to assist those people without jobs.

The bottom line in Florida's growth management discussion

must be the cost of rapid population growth. Florida is simply

not prepared to painlessly absorb over 200,000 people into the

state every year. This is because the people who move to Florida

probably do not pay taxes commensurate with the cost of services

they demand from state and local government. One solution would

be to utilize the tax structure to collect revenues equivalent to

the cost of relocation. Options include impact taxes, personal

income taxes, and homestead tax exemption removal. The objective

would be to force population growth to pay its way while at the

same time revitalizing Florida's attractiveness to economic


In the face of Proposition 1, Florida's growth management

dilemma assumes huge proportions. Reduced revenues could combine

with growing demands from population increases to paralyze the

state's urban areas, effectively creating a no growth stance in