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Comments to the Honorable Kathleen Passidomo, Chair, and Members of the Senate Rules Committee Regarding SB 1734 – Consumer Data Privacy

My name is Dominic M. Calabro, and I am President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, taxpayer research institute and government watchdog which, for over 40 years, has worked to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability of Florida government and promote a fair and equitable system of taxation.

Privacy is such an important principle to Floridians that it is enshrined in the state’s Constitution. It is no surprise that we are now dealing with consumer data privacy as internet connectivity and the ongoing digital transformation of the global economy has given way to a proliferation in data and identity-driven products and services. Measures to regulate data privacy have gained traction in places such as the European Union, California, Virginia, Illinois, and now Florida. 

Our economic research team evaluated the impact of the data privacy bills introduced this year and found that though it may promote some level of consumer privacy, as introduced, the bills in their current form would disproportionately affect small businesses and expose Florida employers to significant costs and economic risks. You can access our analysis, Florida’s Proposed Privacy Protection Act, at FloridaTaxWatch.org

Our assessment found that the initial cost of compliance for affected companies in Florida is estimated to be around $36.5 billion, with small businesses shouldering a large portion of the initial costs; Florida businesses could also expect to pay an additional $301.2 million to $9.7 billion over the next decade for ongoing compliance; and because of the expansive definitions and complicated processes for businesses to comply, coupled with private cause of action provisions included in the bill, the costs could be much higherfurther burdening small businesses with limited legal resources.

Florida TaxWatch believes that policymakers should consider ways to refine the legislation to address the disproportionate impact to smaller businesses – and the unintended consequences to consumer equity and economic growth – and allow for a more thorough economic assessment of the proposed changes to data privacy in Florida. (We understand that there is a “strike-all” amendment that addresses some of these issues.)

We look forward to working with you and your colleagues on addressing the data privacy policy as it proceeds through the process. Floridians want their privacy but individual and business taxpayers need the protection that a strong and secure economy provides as well. 

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and, most of all, thank you and your family for your selfless public service to our state’s taxpayers.

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