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Florida TaxWatch COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force Releases Tax Policy Recommendations for State’s Fiscal Recovery

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida TaxWatch (FTW) today released the recommendations of its COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force which was established in May 2020 to discuss opportunities and options to ease the financial and administrative burdens on Florida taxpayers created by the pandemic and help Florida's economic recovery. Made up of public policy professionals, tax and budget experts, and leaders of both small and large businesses, the Task Force was established to identify those areas of state tax policy that could be addressed both immediately and in the long term to provide Florida’s businesses—and their employees and customers—appropriate relief and assistance.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said, “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in our state, Florida TaxWatch has worked vigorously to develop and propose constructive policy recommendations to guide Florida forward and ensure the best possible response to the fiscal uncertainty presented by this crisis. It was with this mission in mind that Florida TaxWatch convened our state’s top minds on tax policy and fiscal stewardship in May 2020 and established the COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force to develop comprehensive policy solutions to address the short and long-term economic impacts of COVID-19.

“Today, we are proud to announce the thoughtful policy recommendations of this Task Force which put forward proposals focused on protecting the wellbeing of the taxpayer and positioning Florida for a strong and sustained recovery. It is the work of this group and others such as the Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Retail Federation, National Federation of Independent Business and Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s RESET Task Force that will propel Florida forward and ensure its long-term success and prosperity.”

Florida TaxWatch Chairman and former Florida State Senator Pat Neal said, “For more than 40 years Florida TaxWatch has served as the eyes and ears of taxpayers, fighting every day to protect their interests and the fiscal strength of our beloved state. Today, we continue this important work and proudly present the recommendations of our COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force to Governor DeSantis, the Cabinet, the Florida Legislature, and the Florida Department of Revenue for consideration as we work together to get Florida back on its feet.”

Florida TaxWatch COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force Chairwoman Karen Lake said, “Our group has put together 29 recommendations that address eight key areas. By working together with industry associations, the Florida Legislature, and the governor’s office, we believe these recommendations will make a real difference to the lives and livelihood of our fellow citizens.”

The FTW COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force report makes 29 recommendations in two distinct areas: easing the tax burdens that have resulted from the pandemic; and helping with the recovery and long-term growth of Florida’s economy. The recommendations fall under eight key issue areas:

  • Property Taxes
  • State Tax Credits, Incentives, and Grants
  • Sales Taxes
  • Corporate Income Taxes
  • The Reemployment Assistance Tax
  • Documentary Stamp Taxes
  • Tax Administration
  • Communications Services Tax

Florida TaxWatch COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force Members

Task Force Chairwoman – Karen Lake, Berkowitz Pollack Bryant Advisors + CPAs; Dominic M. Calabro, Florida TaxWatch,; Jeff Brinkley, Ryan LLC.; Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch; Richard Berkowitz, Berkowitz Pollack Bryant Advisors + CPAs;Monesia Brown, Walmart Stores, Inc.; H. French Brown, Dean Mead; Ed Canup, Capital City Bank Group, Inc.; Kevin Carr, Florida Makes; Chris Christian, CZ Media Consulting; Tom Crummy, Waste Management; Tommy Culligan, Publix Supermarkets, Inc.; Bob Dearden, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’ Anthony DiMarco, Florida Bankers Association’ Steve Evans, Florida TaxWatch; Margy Grant, Florida Realtors; Thomas Hoban, Kitson & Partners; Winston Howell, Thomas Howell Ferguson; Michael Kohner, Hill, Barth & King CPA and Consultants; Kim Magar, JM Family Enterprises, Inc.; Joe McGraw, L3 Harris Technologies; Santiago Pujals, MBAF; Jared Ross, League of Southeastern Credit Unions; Danielle Scoggins, Florida Realtors; Scott Shalley, Florida Retail Federation; Justin Thames, Florida Institute of CPAs; and Doug Wheeler, Florida Ports Council.

Read the full FTW COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force report here.

About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for more than forty years and the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by its membership via voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit www.floridataxwatch.org.

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