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September 2020 News Highlights

In the News

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GALVANO DEFENDS TOLL ROAD PROJECTS (September 30, 2020)
News Service of Florida
Florida TaxWatch raised questions this summer about the potential cost and need for extending the Suncoast Parkway. Projecting a cost between $4 billion and $10.5 billion, TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro urged “further analysis of the costs, benefits, and practicality of the Suncoast Connector, especially now that our state is facing unprecedented revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19.”
 

Amendment 1: Who should be allowed to vote in Florida elections?  (September 30, 2020)
Charlotte Sun
Florida's 2020 Amendments
The Sun this week is featuring Florida TaxWatch's coverage of the proposed 2020 Florida Constitutional Amendments. For more complete versions of these stories that include analysis, visit yoursun.com.
 

Minimum wage or livable wage? Voters will decide about boosting FL’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026 (September 25, 2020)
Florida Phoenix
Dominic M. Calabro, Florida TaxWatch president and CEO, acknowledges that the Amendment would help some Floridians, but it also would wreak havoc on small businesses. And workers with entry-level skills may find it more difficult to find jobs due to competition from more experienced employees.
 

Florida TaxWatch Releases Report on Space Industry’s Economic Impact on Brevard County (September 24, 2020)
Florida Daily
On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released its latest economic commentary looking at how changes in space exploration and the space industry have impacted parts of the Sunshine State. FTW unveiled the “Economic Impact of a Rebounded and Revitalized Space Program on Florida’s Space Coast” examining the impact on local economies of the federal Space Shuttle Program’s discontinuation and the subsequent revival of the space industry in Florida thanks to private investment
 

Still no answers from task forces looking into proposed Florida toll roads (September 23, 2020)
Tallahassee Democrat
So far, the only fiscal analyses of the projects have been conducted by Florida TaxWatch and one by 1000 Friends of Florida and the Sierra Club, Florida Chapter. Based on previous road projects like the Wekiva Parkway, TaxWatch and Friends estimate the 330 miles of M-Cores roadways could cost anywhere from $10.5 billion to $26 billion or more, depending on how long it takes to finish the projects. 
 

Florida TaxWatch issues voter guide on constitutional amendments (September 18, 2020)
107.3 WDBO
A group that bills itself as “the eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers” is out with its annual report offering guidance to voters on constitutional amendments set to appear on the general election ballot this November. Florida TaxWatch’s voter guide offers advice on whether the proposed six constitutional amendments on the 2020 ballot are worth the cost to Florida taxpayers.
 

Universal Orlando still claiming tax breaks meant to help struggling communities (September 18, 2020)
Orlando Sentinel
Expanding the program is one of nearly 30 recommendations made last month by a “COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force” assembled by Florida TaxWatch, a business-funded advocacy group in Tallahassee. The group also wants lawmakers to expand or enact a host of other business tax breaks, from cutting the state’s corporate income tax rate to subsidizing everything from manufacturers to movie productions.
 

Last Call 🥃 for 9.17.20 — A prime-time read 💻 of what's going down in Florida politics 🗳️ (September 17, 2020)
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch Thursday released a voter guide to help voters make sense of the constitutional amendments slated for the November ballot. The 2020 Florida Taxpayers’ Voter Guide to Florida’s constitutional Amendments includes FTW’s positions on the half-dozen ballot amendments going before voters this fall, but it also summarizes the other side of the argument and explains each amendment’s impact in plain English.
 

Florida TaxWatch releases voter guide for 2020 amendments (September 17, 2020) 
The Capitolist
On Thursday, the Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released its 2020 Florida Taxpayers’ Voter Guide to Florida’s Constitutional Amendments providing taxpayers with independent analysis and voting recommendations for each of the six proposed constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot during the 2020 general election.
 

Amendment Four Would Require ‘Do Over’ Votes (September 17, 2020) 
Capitol News Service
On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch recommended a yes vote. “So having it go before the voters twice is saying, are your sure? And if you are, then we’ll actually amend our organic law,” said Calabro.
 

Florida TaxWatch Released Voter Guide to State Constitutional Amendments (September 17, 2020) 
Florida Daily
On Thursday,  Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released its “Voter Guide to Florida’s Constitutional Amendments” providing taxpayers with analysis and voting recommendations for each of the six proposed constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot during the 2020 general election.
 

New Leadership at Unemployment Agency (September 16, 2020) 
Capitol News Service
The new director is just three days on the job.He told us he’s still getting up to speed on replenishing the trust fund. It’s usually done by assessing payments against companies that had layoffs, but Florida TaxWatch is recommending against that method. “We don’t want to see the businesses that were most hurt by the pandemic and are going to have the toughest time recovering, having to pay a higher tax,” said Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch Vice President.
 

Florida accused of push for 'roads to nowhere' under cover of pandemic (September 11, 2020) 
The Guardian
The spending watchdog group Florida TaxWatch analyzed the Suncoast Connector element of m-cores, a 150-mile corridor from north of Tampa to the Georgia border, and concluded it was “a risky project with a significant price tag and little transportation need, proposed in a highly sensitive environmental area that is vulnerable to coastal flooding and rising sea levels”.
 

Study: Raising minimum wage would hurt Florida’s small businesses, low-skilled workers (September 8, 2020) 
The Center Square Florida
Raising the minimum wage by $1 a year to $15 hourly by 2026 would impose “detrimental effects” on low-skill workers, taxpayers and the state’s 2.5 million small businesses, a Florida TaxWatch (FTW) report published Tuesday concluded.
 

Florida TaxWatch: Deloitte contract illustrates need for procurement reform (September 2, 2020) 
The Center Square Florida
Florida TaxWatch (FTW), the Tallahassee-based public-spending watchdog, has joined the Associated Industries of Florida and others in citing Deloitte’s newest contract as an example of why procurement reform is necessary.
 

Florida watchdog calls for reform over Deloitte contract (September 2, 2020)
News4Jax
A government watchdog is crying foul over the state’s decision to award an estimated $135 million contract to Deloitte, the same firm that built Florida’s flawed unemployment system. In its report, Florida TaxWatch called the contract award hard to believe.
This story was republished in:
Capitol News Service
 

Florida TaxWatch: Deloitte contract illustrates need for procurement reform (September 2, 2020)
The Center Square Florida
rocurement rules merit thorough review after revelations Deloitte secured another lucrative state contract while being sued by the state for its liability in Florida’s unemployment fiasco, groups across the state have said.Florida TaxWatch (FTW), the Tallahassee-based public-spending watchdog, has joined the Associated Industries of Florida and others in citing Deloitte’s newest contract as an example of why procurement reform is necessary.
 

After AHCA’s Deloitte deal, Florida TaxWatch wants revamped contract system (September 2, 2020)
Florida Politics
After the Agency for Health Care Administration awarded Deloitte Consulting with a controversial contract, state spending watchdogs at Florida TaxWatch released a new set of recommendations for contract oversight.

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