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 (May 15 - 31)

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

BACKROOM BRIEFING: TRYING TO FILL THE HOLE (May 28, 2020)
News Service of Florida
Florida TaxWatch wants lawmakers to require the collection of sales taxes on online purchases and to reach a gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe as ways to patch a nearly $900 million hole in state revenue caused last month by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This editorial was republished by:
Northwest Florida Daily News
Panama City News Herald

Florida TaxWatch Showcases Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday (May 28, 2020)
Florida Daily
With hurricane season about to begin, Florida is about to start a weeklong sales tax holiday for items to help families prepare for it. The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday starts on Friday, May 29 and lasts until Thursday, June 4. 
Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida Tax Watch, weighed in on the sales tax holiday on Wednesday.

Watchdog group pushes ‘E-Fairness’, Seminole gaming compact amid state revenue loss (May 28, 2020)
Florida Politics
A government watchdog group is calling on the Florida Legislature to establish a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe and to collect tax on internet sales after a report showed Florida revenue collections down $878 million for April. The move comes after Florida got a grim glimpse at the pandemic’s impact on state revenue. According to Florida TaxWatch, the cost to Florida governments of not collecting a tax on internet sales from vendors such as Amazon is more than $700 million in lost revenue. The watchdog group argues the lack of ‘E-Fairness’ costs retailers millions in brick-and-mortar taxes, placing them at a disadvantage.

April revenue collections fall 33 percent below Florida's pre-coronavirus estimates (May 27, 2020)
The Center Square
Florida TaxWatch (FTW), a nonprofit taxpayer research institute based in Tallahassee, said the revenue shortfall exposes the need for lawmakers to take care of unfinished business. FTW reiterated Tuesday its April 14 call for the Legislature to adopt an "E-Fairness" bill that could generate up to $700 million a year and to secure a renewed gaming compact with the Seminoles that could generate another $700 million annually.

This editorial was republished by:
Washington Examiner
Suwannee Democrat
The Apopka Voice

Sharp drop in state tax collections threatens pay raises, programs (May 27, 2020)
USA TODAY Network – Florida Capital Bureau
Florida TaxWatch, the business-backed research organization, cited the decline in tax collections as a reason to urge lawmakers to work on a new revenue-producing gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe and to authorize the state to collect taxes on e-commerce and remote vendors.
Both approaches could draw hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s pandemic-battered treasury.

This story was published by the following newspapers:
The Ledger
Palm Beach Post
Florida Times-Union
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Florida Today
The News-Press
Naples Daily News
Ocala Star Banner
Pensacola News Journal
TCPalm
Tallahassee Democrat
Gainesville Sun
The St. Augustine Record
Panama City News Herald

Florida TaxWatch Offers Proposals to Help Avert Revenue Losses Due to Coronavirus Pandemic (May 27, 2020)
Florida Daily
With revenue down across Florida due to the coronavirus pandemic, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) urged the Legislature to take steps to rectify that, including taking “action to properly collect lawfully owed sales and use taxes on internet sales” and restoring the gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.

Last Call 🥃 for 5.27.20 — A prime-time read 💻 of what's going down in Florida politics 🗳 (May 27, 2020)
Florida Politics
On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch urged Floridians to take advantage and stock up before a storm comes. Doing so could also help local brick-and-mortars stay afloat.
“As Florida families and businesses continue to recover from COVID-19, and get ready for the June 1 start of hurricane season, this year’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday provides a great opportunity to get prepared and help fuel our economy by shopping locally,” said Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of FTW.

Florida's State Revenue Nosedive: 5 Things to Know (May 27, 2020)
Bay News 9 / Spectrum News 13
What about the longer term?
That's where reformers, including Florida TaxWatch CEO Dominic Calabro, come in. They say the crisis is driving home the imperative of diversifying Florida's revenue streams so that shocks caused by the ebb and flow of the tourism industry don't continue to threaten the state's fiscal position.
Specifically, Calabro says the legislature should consider better enforcing a law requiring online vendors to collect sales taxes from customers who are Florida residents. Some companies, including Amazon, charge Floridians sales tax; others do not.

Florida revenues down nearly $900 million as the impact of COVID-19 takes hold (May 27, 2020)
The Bond Buyer
Dominic M. Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit watchdog group, said Tuesday's EDR report is "staggering and makes the economic toll of COVID-19 abundantly clear."
"With revenue collections for the month of April coming in at more than $878 million below estimates, our leaders must take action to remain accountable to the taxpayers of our state and set Florida on the right path forward," Calabro said.

Florida TaxWatch Releases Analysis Looking at Telehealth During Coronavirus Pandemic (May 21, 2020)
Florida Daily
On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) “Telehealth in Florida: Where We Are and What is Next,” released an analysis looking at telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic.
The analysis found “broadband internet access, digital readiness, and reimbursement and regulatory discrepancies as the main challenges needing to be addressed through a collaborative approach by local, state, and federal government agencies, healthcare organizations, and patients to ensure a robust telehealth system capable of serving millions of Floridians.”

Two former leaders urging Bay County residents to respond to census (May 19, 2020)
WMBB News 13
Southerland and Clemons are working with the Children’s Campaign and Florida Tax Watch. Their goal is to educate residents and to stress that responding to the census is important regardless of what party you’re affiliated with.

RADIO & TV

Interview with TaxWatch President and CEO, Dominic Calabro
News Radio 610 WIOD
Listen here

Interview with TaxWatch President and CEO, Dominic Calabro, about the EDR April General Revenue report and FTW’s recommendations for E-Fairness legislation and re-establishing the Seminole Compact.
Bay News 9
Watch the video

As also seen on:
Spectrum News 13

Coverage on the importance of the 2020 Census

WMBB
Watch the video

Coverage on FTW’s latest briefing on telehealth.

WPTV NBC 5  (West Palm Beach)

KADN FOX 15 (Lafayette, LA)

WXIX FOX 19 (Cincinnati, OH)

WLIO FOX 8 (Lima, OH)

WDAF FOX 4 (Kansas City, MO)

SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

Our Facebook page @FloridaTaxWatch is looking good this month! The page reached 96% more people than last month and received 372 engagements (44% more than April)

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