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

Broward County School Board Member Admits She Was ‘Intimidated’ Into Covering Up Safety Failures That Contributed To Marjory Stoneman Douglas Massacre

 

Statewide Coverage. Statewide Impact.

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

 

Floridians Have Voluntarily Taxed Themselves $10.8B (February 12, 2021)
Florida Realtors
Report findings
Since 2010, Floridians have considered 189 tax referenda, and passed three out of four (75.1%). Bonds fared slightly better. During the same timeframe, voters approved 77.4% of the 93 referenda to authorize local governments to issue debt.

Broward County School Board Member Admits She Was ‘Intimidated’ Into Covering Up Safety Failures That Contributed To Marjory Stoneman Douglas Massacre (February 13, 2021)
The Daily Wire
According to Florida TaxWatch, in the first four years of the SMART bond’s existence, the district only spent 5% of the money on safety projects, which was far below what the district was claiming to be spending.

Aging prisoners strain Florida’s budget and should be considered for release (February 11, 2021)
Gulf Breeze News
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.

COVID-19 health care liability bill clears Senate Committee (February 11, 2021)
Florida Politics
“If employers’ confidence in the economy is shaken due to the absence of a liability shield, we would reduce the Florida economy by as much as $27.6 billion and more than 356,000 jobs annually,” a Florida Tax Watch report prognosticates. 

Number of MA Plans Offering Palliative Care Doubles (February 10, 2021)
Hospice News
Home-based palliative care could reduce societal health care costs by $103 billion within the next 20 years, the nonprofit economic research group Florida TaxWatch said in a 2019 report.

Florida TaxWatch Releases Report on $10.8 Billion in Local Taxes and Bonds Approved Since 2010 (February 10, 2021)
Florida Daily
On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch released its latest report, “A Decade of Self-Taxing,” providing a comprehensive overview of the $10.8 billion in local taxes and bond issues that voters have approved since 2010.

Floridians approved billions in local taxes and bond issues since 2010 (February 21, 2020)
The Capitolist
Florida TaxWatch released its latest report on Wednesday providing a comprehensive overview of local taxes and bond issues that voters have approved since 2010.

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.11.21 (February 11, 2021)
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch urges Senate to pass health care liability protections — Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro stressed the need to protect health care facilities and providers from COVID-19 lawsuits during SB 74’s first committee hearing.

Democrat compliments Republican (February 10, 2021)
Tampa Bay Times
Not only is this a humane act in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, but according to the non-profit research institute Florida TaxWatch, the move could save taxpayers about $21 million if fully implemented.  -- Jim Donelon, President - Democratic Club of St. Petersburg

Fight looms over new minimum 'Hard-to-hire' workers could see lower wages than set increases (February 6, 2021)
Orlando Sentinel
Another study from Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit run by a board of directors that includes lobbyists for Walmart and Universal Orlando and that encouraged residents to vote down Amendment 2, claimed that the increase would discourage companies from coming to Florida and force employers to raise prices and eliminate jobs to afford paying higher wages.

Also published in:
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel (Print)
South Florida Sun Sentinel (Print)

Florida Democrat Seeks to Eliminate Urban Job Tax Credit Program (February 5, 2021)
Tax Notes
Meanwhile, a report issued last year by a task force from the taxpayer group Florida TaxWatch said the tax credit should be temporarily expanded to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report said that the annual cap on the program should be increased; retail businesses, including restaurants and bars, should qualify; and the credit should be available for jobs retained during the pandemic.

The pandemic hit Florida prisons hard. A bill would let some sick inmates out early (February 5, 2021)
Tampa Bay Times
The nonprofit research institute, Florida TaxWatch, estimates that for each month an elderly inmate is not in prison, the state could save $1,000, totaling to about $21 million when considering its entire senior population, according to a 2016 report.

Also reported in:
Bradenton Herald

Bills seek to pull plug on Florida toll road ‘boondoggle’ before it gets too far down the road
(February 5, 2021)
The Center Square
With the state anticipating a two-year $2.5 billion revenue shortfall, critics that range from the 80-member ‘Roads To Ruin’ coalition to Florida TaxWatch say lawmakers should pull the plug on the proposed Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) plan now before it becomes a $10-to-$26 billion boondoggle. 

Doug Wheeler: Bill’s unintended consequences could hurt Florida’s economy (February 2, 2020)
Florida Politics
The Seaport Governance Analysis conducted by Florida TaxWatch in 2014 concluded that successful port structures “feature community integration, support and trust,” which allows the governance of the port to be “stable and predictable.”

Much higher priorities are out there (January 31, 2021)
Highlands News-Sun
In rural Levy County, where two of the toll roads would converge, commissioners favor a "no build" option. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group included M-CORES on a list of the biggest transportation boondoggles in the country. Even Florida TaxWatch, a business-backed policy group that has long supported tax-supported transportation projects, raises serious doubts as to whether the Suncoast Connector can meet financial conditions required by law.

Originally published in:
Orlando Sentinel

Bill would exempt under-21, felons, ‘hard-to-hire’ workers from Florida minimum-wage law (January 30, 2021)
The Center Square
A Florida TaxWatch study found Amendment 2, “while intended to create winners, creates many more unintended losers, creating the potential for detrimental effects on taxpayers, small business and low-skill workers.”

Gov. DeSantis claims his COVID policies will allow the state to increase spending to $96.6 billion (January 28, 2021)
Florida Phoenix
Does the governor have a point? Perhaps, said Dominic Calabro, president, and CEO of the nonpartisan watchdog, Florida TaxWatch. 
“It helps that you have some economic activity,” Calabro said in a telephone interview, although he acknowledged a tradeoff with exposure to the virus.

Senators Back Plan to Collect Online Taxes (January 25, 2021)
Orlando Weekly
Tallahassee-based Florida TaxWatch for years has argued the proposal would ensure online dealers don’t have an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores in selling the same products without the added state tax.

Also published in:
News Service of Florida
Click Orlando
Fox 35 (Orlando)
Gainesville Sun
Fox 13 (Tampa Bay)
WUSF (Tampa)
CBS 4 (Miami)
WGCU (Southwest Florida)
Florida Times-Union (In print)

Senate committee advances Joe Gruters’ bill requiring online sales tax. Florida is one of two states that doesn’t charge the tax at point of sale. (January 25, 2021)
Florida Politics
Tallahassee-based Florida TaxWatch for years has argued the proposal would ensure online dealers don’t have an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores in selling the same products without the added state tax.

COVID-19-liability bill in Florida may be ready for quick adoption in March (January 25, 2021)
News Break
While the Florida Office of the State Courts does not have data on COVID-19 liability lawsuits filed so far against Florida businesses, a recent Florida TaxWatch report found 490 COVID-19-related suits have been filed in the state.
The report estimated 356,000 jobs could be at risk without liability protections, and the state could see a $28 billion loss in economic activity.

Originally published in:
The Center Square
Also published in:
Marietta Daily Journal

COVID-19 business protections clear first hurdle (January 25, 2021)
Action News Jax
A recent report by Florida TaxWatch found 490 COVID-related suits have been filed so far in the state. The report estimated 356,000 jobs could be at risk without liability protections and the state could see a $28 billion loss in economic activity.

Sunburn — The morning 🌅 read of what’s hot ️ in Florida politics — 1.26.21 — Burnin’ today: Ross, Bryant, DeSantis, Morgan, Gruters, Patronis (January 26, 2020) 
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch says state needs COVID liability protections — In comments submitted to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, FTW president and CEO Dominic Calabro stressed the importance of COVID-19 liability protections for Florida’s economic recovery.

Bipartisan e-fairness passes, 11-0 / Florida online sales tax could soon change (December 21, 2020)
WCTV
“We have the second-highest reliance on sales and use tax. We should have been at this a long time ago. It’s been ideological head in sand,” said Dominic Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

Also published in:
WJHG
Action News Jax
WCJB

COVID-19 business protections clear first hurdle (January 25, 2020)
News 4 Jax
A recent report by Florida TaxWatch found 490 COVID-related suits have been filed so far in the state. The report estimated 356,000 jobs could be at risk with out liability protections and the state could see a $28 billion loss in economic activity.

Florida leaves billions behind, and we all lose | Steve Bousquet (January 22, 2020)
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Almost every year, a version of the proposal fails, despite support from the business community, big-box retail giants such as Best Buy and Walmart, Florida TaxWatch, the Florida League of Cities, and Florida Association of Counties.

Honor system failure; Florida one of two states not collecting sales tax from all remote sellers
(January 23, 2021)
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“We’re in a different environment right now,” said Kurt Wenner, vice president of research for Florida TaxWatch, who acknowledged past resistance from Republican lawmakers worried that the online sales tax idea could look like a tax increase.

 

 

 

RADIO & TV

 

WFLA-TB (NBC) – Tampa Bay 1/25/2021 4:43:53 PM
WBBH-FTM (NBC) – Fort Myers 1/25/2021 5:06:38 PM
WCTV (CBS) – Tallahassee 1/25/2021 5:22:06 PM
WCJB (ABC) – Gainesville 1/25/2021 5:24:07 PM
WFLA-TB (NBC) – Tampa Bay 1/25/2021 5:33:03 PM
WZVN-FTM (ABC) – Southwest Florida 1/25/2021 6:02:52 PM
WECP-TV – Panama City 1/25/2021 10:04:08 PM (CST)
WJHG (NBC) – Panama City 1/25/2021 10:04:08 PM (CST)
WCJB (ABC) – Gainesville 1/26/2021 5:07:44 AM
WJHG (NBC) – Panama City 1/26/2021 4:52:12 AM (CST)
WJHG (NBC) – Panama City 1/26/2021 5:06:13 AM (CST)
 

 

 

WEAR (ABC) – Pensacola 1/26/2021 6:36:06 AM (CST)
WEAR (ABC) – Pensacola 1/26/2021 7:57:32 AM (CST)
WCJB (ABC) – Gainesville 1/25/2021 5:26:06 PM
WJXT-JAX – Jacksonville 1/25/2021 5:37:12 PM
WINK-FTM (CBS) – Orlando 1/25/2021 5:38:19 PM
WFLA-TB (NBC) – Tampa Bay 1/25/2021 5:38:40 PM
WCTV (CBS) – Tallahassee 1/25/2021 6:11:32 PM
WJHG (NBC) – Panama City 1/25/2021 5:18:01 PM (CST)
WEAR (ABC) – Pensacola 1/25/2021 10:37:58 PM (CST)
WCJB (ABC) – Gainesville 1/26/2021 6:08:50 AM
WLRN Radio – Miami 1/26/2021 7:18:59 AM
 

 

 
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