The TaxWatch Research Blog

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 In the News (June 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!

PRINT & DIGITAL

Takeaways from Tallahassee — ‘Justice’s Best Friend’ (June 13, 2020)
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch opens turkey season — The fiscal watchdogs flagged $136.3 million from 180 “budget turkeys” in the upcoming fiscal year spending plan. The group annually spotlights member projects deemed worthy of line-item vetoes. The items put in crosshairs identify a portion of the Legislature’s $93.2 billion budget, which included a record 829 member projects comprising more than $500,000. 

Q and A: Florida TaxWatch Releases Annual List of State Budget "Turkeys" (June 11, 2020) 
Bay News 9
As Gov. Ron DeSantis weighs brandishing his line item veto power to pare back a state spending plan passed just before the coronavirus outbreak started wreaking havoc with Florida's economy, a key watchdog group is releasing its annual list of budget 'turkeys' it believes should be vetoed.

Florida TaxWatch releases its annual list of "budget turkeys" (June 11, 2020)
WCJB ABC 20
Watchdog group Florida TaxWatch released its annual list of "budget turkeys," projects in the budget they say were not properly checked by lawmakers when they were added to the budget. Among them are three transportation projects in our area.

Raises Getting New Scrutiny (June 11, 2020)
Capitol News Service
While the Governor and Commissioner of Education Thursday pushed to fully open schools this fall, the Governor still hasn’t received the new budget, which takes effect in July. “We’re asking the Governor to take a close look at all member projects,” said Kurt Wenner with Florida TaxWatch. To make up pandemic losses, TaxWatch is also recommending the state sign a new gaming deal with the Seminole Tribe.

This news story was republished by:
WFLA News Channel 8
WCTV
WJHG NBC 7

Florida watchdog group skeptical of state budget, looks for governor to veto (June 11, 2020)
WINK News
Florida TaxWatch, a business-backed nonprofit, says $136 million dollars should be cut from the state’s budget. The watchdog group highlighted 180 member projects on the budget that were not properly checked by lawmakers and is asking the governor to veto those.

Budget Cuts Loom As TaxWatch Unveils Annual 'Turkey' Report (June 11, 2020)
WFSU
Florida lawmakers are hoping state revenues rebound in order to avoid big cuts to the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The most recent numbers show Florida was down by more than 870 million dollars from estimates due to the coronavirus shutdowns. Florida TaxWatch’s Dominic Colaboro says if Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking for cost-savings, he’s got about $136 million worth of them.

BUDGET EYED FOR CUTS AS VIRUS HITS REVENUES (June 11, 2020) 
News Service of Florida
Florida TaxWatch wants more than $136 million in projects cut from the proposed state budget, but the fiscal-watchdog group acknowledges that might be far less than what is needed because of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on state revenues.

This news story was republished by:
Daytona Beach News-Journal
WLRN Radio
WJXT – News4Jax
WFOR CBS 4
WUSF

Florida TaxWatch Offers its Annual Look at Budget Turkeys (June 11, 2020)
Florida Daily
On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released its annual turkey list, signaling out parts of the budget. FTW has been releasing the report since 1986 and it turned its attention to this year’s budget, noting that member projects continue to hinder it.

Spending on 'turkeys': Florida TaxWatch questions over $500 million tucked into state budget (June 11, 2020)
Tallahassee Democrat
Florida TaxWatch drew a bead on a flock of turkeys for Gov. Ron DeSantis in the state’s proposed $93.2 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The budget has yet to be officially delivered to the governor as bills were held up amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the business-backed group found lawmakers inserted $136 million into the spending plan outside established procedures and policies.

Florida TaxWatch flushes out $136.3M in ‘budget turkeys’ (June 11, 2020) 
Florida Politics
A Florida TaxWatch annual report released Thursday spotlights additions to the Legislature’s $93.2 billion budget they don’t think were fully scrutinized by lawmakers during this year’s Legislative Session. Those projects make up just a portion of the record 829 member projects comprising more than $500,000 of the budget.

ON TAP IN THE CAPITAL: THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2020 (June 11, 2020)
News Service of Florida
‘TURKEY’ LIST RELEASED: Florida TaxWatch will hold a news conference to release its annual list of budget “turkeys” and to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on the state’s upcoming 2020-2021 budget.

Sunburn — The morning 🌅 read of what’s hot   in Florida politics  6.11.20 Burnin’ today: Gillum, Floyd, Trump, NASCAR, Fried, Rubio (June 11, 2020)
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch will host a news conference to announce the 2020 Budget Turkey Watch Report and address the significant impact of COVID-19 on the 2020-21 budget, 11 a.m., Florida TaxWatch Headquarters, 106 North Bronough Street, Tallahassee. The event will also be streamed live on the Florida TaxWatch Facebook page at facebook.com/floridataxwatch.

Florida Lawmakers Urged to Address Wayfair as Revenues Plummet (June 9, 2020)
Tax Notes
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro said a recent report from Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research showing April revenue collections were $878 million below estimates has made it more pressing for lawmakers to pass "e-fairness" legislation.

RADIO & TV

WEAR – ABC 3 (Pensacola)
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WFTX – FOX 4 (Ft. Myers)
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WTVJ – NBC 6 (Miami)
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WCTV – CBS 6 (Tallahassee)
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Also ran during the following segment:
Eyewitness News at 11:00

WCJB – ABC 20 (Gainesville)

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Also ran during the following segments:
WCJB TV 20 News at 11
WCJB TV 20 News at 2 
WCJB TV 20 News: Morning Edition
WCJB TV 20 News: Good Morning America
WCJB TV 20 News at Noon

WJHG – NBC 7 (Panama City)
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WMBB – ABC 13 (Panama City)
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Also ran during the following segment:
News 13 at 10

WINK – CBS 11 (Ft. Myers)
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WTXL – ABC 27  (Tallahassee)
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WFLA – NBC News Channel 8  (Tampa)
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Also ran during the following segment:
Channel 8 Sunday Morning at 9AM
 

Bay News 9  (Tampa)
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Also ran during the following segments:
Bay News 9 Your Evening News at 6
Bay News 9 Your Evening News at 7
Bay News 9 Your Evening News at 8
Bay News 9 Your Evening News at 9 
Bay News 9 Your Evening News at 11
Bay News 9 Your Overnight News at Midnight
Bay News 9 Political Connections

WPBF – ABC 25 (West Palm Beach)
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Also ran during the following segments:

WPBF 25 News Morning
WPBF 25 News at 9:00 AM

WZVN – ABC 7  (Ft. Myers)
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WJXT – News4Jax (Jacksonville)
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Also ran during the following segments:
News4Jax at 11
News4Jax at 4:30AM

Spectrum News 13 (Orlando)
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Also ran during the following segments:
News 13 Your Overnight News at Midnight
News 13 Your Overnight News at 1
News 13 Your Overnight News at 2
News 13 Your Overnight News at 3
News 13 Your Overnight News at 4

News Radio 610 WIOD
Listen here

WESH – NBC 2 (Orlando)
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PODCASTS & SPECIALS

School’s In? (June 12, 2020)
Florida Politics Sunrise Podcast
About this episode: Months before Thanksgiving, Florida TaxWatch found 180 turkeys in the new state budget, which they call on DeSantis veto since they got there through some sort of “hanky-panky” and not through the regular appropriations process.

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