January 17, 2013 – Those energy efficient appliances and flat screen TVs bought in the last few years by Florida consumers are a real drag for state schools. Energy consumption is one of the things that finances Florida’s gross receipts tax, which has paid $8.6 billion for school capital costs since 2004. The problem is that, while tax revenue dropped in the last few years mostly because of the economy, much of it won’t ever come back because of the more efficient way Floridians use electricity. The drop in tax collections forced the state last year to add $250 million to the trust fund that the tax normally finances, the Public Education Capital Outlay, or PECO. This hampers colleges and universities, who can’t float bonds to finance new projects or rehap existing buildings.