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The TaxWatch Research Blog is a forum where our research staff can address topics and issues in a short format. Keep an eye on this space during Legislative Session for frequent posts making sense of the activity at the Capitol. 

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Florida TaxWatch News Clips (July 1- 15)

Florida TaxWatch is constantly looking to spread the word about our research, recommendations, and programs, all in pursuit of serving each and every taxpayer in Florida. Below is just a selection of where we've popped up in the last few weeks!

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Takeaways 🥡 from Tallahassee 🏛️ — With a boom 🎆 🧨🎇 (July 11, 2020)
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch has released its annual state budget explainer giving taxpayers the TL;DR for the state's spending plan.The Taxpayers’ Guide to Florida’s FY2020-21 State Budget provides an overview and analysis of the spending plan that was finalized less than two weeks ago.
TaxWatch calls its online Budget Hub the go-to resource for understanding the state's expenditures. And President and CEO Dominic Calabro touted the watchdog organization as the “eyes and ears of Florida's taxpayers

Florida TaxWatch Releases Guide to $92.3 Billion Budget Ron DeSantis Signed (July 9, 2020)
Florida Daily
On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) unveiled its “Taxpayers’ Guide to Florida’s FY2020-21 State Budget.” The guide looks over the $92.27 billion budget which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed at the end of last month. DeSantis vetoed more than $1 billion from the budget the Legislature passed earlier in the year.

FORMER GOV. MIXSON DIES AT 98 (July 8, 2020)
News Service of Florida
 Wayne Mixson, a North Florida farmer who served two terms as lieutenant governor and a brief stint as governor, died Wednesday at his home in Tallahassee. He was 98. Dominic Calabro, president and chief executive officer of Florida TaxWatch, issued a statement Wednesday that described Mixson --- a longtime member of the organization's Board of Trustees --- as a "great and beloved Floridian."

This news story was republished by:
Sarasota Herald Tribune
Northwest Florida Daily News
Gainesville Sun
Ocala Star Banner
Apalachicola Times
Daytona Beach News-Journal
The Destin Log
Daily Commercial
Palm Beach Post
News Chief
Washington County Times Adviser
St. Augustine Record

New Florida budget pressured by coronavirus uncertainty (July 8, 2020)
The Bond Buyer
Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit organization that oversees government spending, applauded DeSantis for vetoing 81% of previously planned projects it identified as not being properly vetted. Dominic M. Calabro, FTW’s president and CEO, said the group would continue to work with Florida lawmakers to form fiscal policy recommendations.

Former Florida governor Wayne Mixson dies (July 8, 2020)
Tallahassee Democrat
Wayne Mixson, an affable Panhandle politician who became Florida’s longest-living but shortest-serving governor, died in Tallahassee on Wednesday. He was 98. Dominic Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch, worked with Mixson as a board member of the Tallahassee policy-analysis organization. He recalled him as “a great civic leader and a selfless, principled statesman who has helped make our Sunshine State markedly better and second to none.”

Expert: Covid-19 economy may affect transportation sales tax initiatives (July 2, 2020)
Orlando Business Journal
Kurt Wenner, the vice president of research at nonprofit tax research institute Florida TaxWatch, sees the pandemic economy having a major impact on the outcomes of these types of initiatives. "This whole Covid thing changes everything," he told Orlando Business Journal.
Here, Wenner spoke with OBJ about the potential success of future sales tax campaigns in the state, as well as how the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus could both hurt and benefit those types of measures.

Florida’s Leaders React to Ron DeSantis Signing $92.2 Billion Budget (June 30, 2020)
Florida Daily
Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch (FTW), also offered his take on the final budget. "Today, we are proud that Gov. DeSantis has heeded TaxWatch’s proposals and vetoed more than $1 billion from the FY2020-21 budget, including vetoing 81 percent, or 146 of the 180 projects and budget items identified by FTW as Budget Turkeys. The governor also vetoed 518 member projects cutting more than $264 million from the budget,” Calabro said.

4 takeaways from Ron DeSantis’ $92 billion budget (June 30, 2020)
Tampa Bay Times
The cuts weren’t as big as some thought. In reality, DeSantis’ veto list was smaller than many people expected.
“I thought it might be a little bit higher in vetoes,” said Kurt Wenner, vice president of research for Florida TaxWatch, a think tank that advocates for smaller government.

Gov. DeSantis trims new state budget by $1 billion, including some of his own programs (June 29, 2020)
The Florida Phoenix
Dominic Calabro, head of the fiscal watchdog Florida TaxWatch, noted that 146 of the 180 projects and budget items identified his organization had identified as “budget turkeys,” or of questionable procedural justification, had been culled. The governor vetoed 518 member projects worth $264 million, he said.

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