What is the purpose of the division?
The mission of the Division of Bond Finance is to provide capital financing for state and selected local government agencies, typically by issuing tax-exempt bonds. The division issues bonds to finance critical infrastructure projects such as school construction, environmental land acquisition, transportation projects, and state facilities.
How does the division operate?
Although administratively housed within the State Board of Administration, the division is chaired by the Governor, with the Attorney General serving as the secretary of the board and the Chief Financial Officer serving as the treasurer of the board. The division administers bonding programs for the departments of Education, Transportation, Environmental Protection, and Management Services, as well as the Florida Turnpike System and the Board of Governors.
What services does the division provide?
Specific services performed by the Division of Bond Finance include
- issuing bonds for or on behalf of state agencies and authorities;
- administering the volume cap allocation for private activity bonds;
- providing an arbitrage compliance program for state bond issues;
- providing technical assistance on new financing programs and legislative proposals;
- maintaining a system for local government bond issuance reporting; and
- providing coordination for continuing bond disclosure filings.
How are these activities funded?
The Division of Bond Finance does not receive an annual legislative appropriation. Instead, the division receives compensation from fees it charges to each state or local agency requesting services relating to the sale of bond issues. Fees are charged in accordance with a fee schedule adopted by resolution of the division, as required by ss. 215.65(3) and 215.655(2), Florida Statutes.
The division's Revenue Bond Fee Unit's Fiscal Year 2020-21 operating budget, the most recent available, is shown below.
|FTEs|| || 15 |
|Salaries and Benefits ||$ ||2,665,230.12 |
|Other Personal Services || ||2,090,039.32|
|Expenses || || 406,813.67|
|Other Capital Outlay || || 65,650.00|
|Total Budget ||$ ||5,227,733.11|
|Source: State Board of Administration. |
The division's Arbitrage Compliance Unit's Fiscal Year 2020-21 operating budget, the most recent available, is shown below.
|FTEs|| || 2|
|Salaries and Benefits ||$ ||409,292.72|
|Other Personal Services || ||119,200.00|
|Expenses || || 31,183.32 |
|Other Capital Outlay || ||$11,350.00|
|Total Budget ||$ ||571,026.04|
|Source: State Board of Administration. |
Debt Report. In December 2020, the Division of Bond Finance issued the 2020 Debt Report, which reviews changes in the State's debt position that occurred over the last year and provides information on other matters important to the State's credit ratings. The report's major findings include the following.
- State Debt. Total State direct debt outstanding as of June 30, 2020, was $19.2 billion—a $1.4 billion decrease from the prior fiscal year and continuing a downward trend which began in 2011 totaling $9.0 billion, or 32%.
- Benchmark Debt Ratio. The state’s benchmark debt ratio—debt service to revenues available to pay debt service—increased in FY 2020 to 5.49% from 4.64% in FY 2019. The benchmark ratio increased due to the combined effect from lower revenue, due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and increasing debt service payments, due to the variability in PPP payments. The benchmark debt ratio remained below the 6% policy target for a seventh consecutive year and is forecasted to continue below the policy target due to the projected growth in revenues and restrained debt issuance.
- Bond Ratings. In late September 2020, the State’s bond ratings were all affirmed which was significant in light of the economic, fiscal and budgetary consequences precipitated by COVID-19. In their reports, the rating agencies recognize the State will likely see lingering revenue impacts related to the pandemic but expect the state to maintain healthy reserves and continue the history of making timely budget adjustments and returning to structural budget balance to continue to support the triple-A ratings.
- Pension Funding. Florida continued to make important progress in lowering its investment return assumption and made incremental improvement by reducing the amortization policy to 25 years from 30 years. The investment return assumption, which had been lowered from 7.75% to 7.2% over the previous six years, was reduced to 7.0%.
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website
Where can I get more information?
What are the applicable statutes?
Articles VII and XII, Constitution of the State of Florida, and Ch. 75, (Bond Validation Act), and ss. 215.57
through 215.83 (State Bond Act), Florida Statutes.
Whom do I contact for help?
Ben Watkins, Director of Bond Finance, 850-488-4782