When the Beaches Close: Impact of COVID-19 upon County Fiscal Health in Florida

24 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020 Last revised: 11 May 2020

See all articles by Sarah Larson

Sarah Larson

University of Central Florida

Bruce McDonald

North Carolina State University

Date Written: May 6, 2020


The impact of COVID-19 and the use of shelter in place orders upon county-level government revenues and the future fiscal health of these municipalities is an ongoing concern for county government officials. Florida presents a unique case as the state relies on the sales tax revenue driven by in-state sales for over 60% of state revenue. This study presents findings on two measures of fiscal health (operating ratio and revenue loss per capita) under various scenarios of loss to county revenues through declines in general sales, local option sales, and fuel taxes. Findings suggest that counties within the panhandle in Florida may have to tap into reserves to make up for revenue loss.

Keywords: Florida; COVID-19; Sales Tax; Fiscal Health; County Government

JEL Classification: H71, H72, H83

Suggested Citation

Larson, Sarah and McDonald, Bruce, When the Beaches Close: Impact of COVID-19 upon County Fiscal Health in Florida (May 6, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3594898 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3594898

Sarah Larson (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

4364 Scorpius Street
HPA II, Room 238
Orlando, FL 32816-1395
United States
407-823-5839 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.larsonse.com

Bruce McDonald

North Carolina State University ( email )

School of Public and International Affairs
Campus Box 8102
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States
919-515-2481 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.brucemcdonald.com

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