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

Florida Legislature backtracks on massive toll roads plan, is set to scrap much of it/Florida's controversial toll road projects are on the verge of being repealed

 

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!

 

 

 

SESSION TESTIMONY

 

 

 

April 19, 2021- Comments to the Honorable Kelli Stargel, Chair, and Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding SB 794--- Independent Living Services


"Florida TaxWatch recognizes the importance of work, not only as a source of income but also as a path to community and prosperity. We support efforts that empower individuals to achieve independence, including programs that support opportunities for persons with disabilities to maintain meaningful employment such as the James Patrick Memorial Work Incentive Personal Attendant Services Program (JPPAS)."

 

April 19, 2021- Comments to the Honorable Kelli Stargel, Chair, and Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding SB 1592 ---Broadband Internet Infrastructure


"Florida TaxWatch supports efforts to increase deployment of broadband and providing tax exemptions for broadband equipment and encouraging reasonable regulation and costs to access municipal poles is an efficient and immediate method to encourage broadband deployment in Florida"

 

 

 

 

 

PRINT & DIGITAL

 

Florida Legislature backtracks on massive toll roads plan, is set to scrap much of it/Florida's controversial toll road projects are on the verge of being repealed (April 15 - 16, 2021)
Miami Herald
Last year, the conservative think tank Florida TaxWatch called the Suncoast stretch a “risky project” with “little demonstrated transportation need.”

Also published in:
Bradenton Herald 
Tampa Bay Times (Newspaper/Online)

Takeaways from Tallahassee – Safety First (April 17, 2021)
Florida Politics
The drama has led some watchdog, such as Florida TaxWatch, to call for a complete overhaul of the state’s procurement process.

Florida TaxWatch Calls for Comprehensive Review of Government Leasehold Law (April 15, 2021)
News Break
On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch released “Calling for Clarity: Florida’s Confusing and Conflicting Scheme for Taxing Government Leaseholds Needs Legislative Attention.”

Also published in:
Florida Daily

Vantage Hospice Unveils New Palliative Care Program (April 14, 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.

Sixty Days for 4.14.21 — A prime-time look at the 2021 Legislative Session (April 14, 2021)
Florida Politics
According to Florida TaxWatch, Floridians pay about $224 billion in federal taxes this year, representing about 70% of state residents’ overall tax burden. The advocacy group calculated that the average Floridian needed until April 9 before they had earned enough money to pay their tax bill — a day it refers to as “Taxpayer Independence Day.”

Despite business pushback, House data privacy bill gets panel approval (April 14, 2021)
Florida Politics
Brewster Bevis of Associated Industries of Florida said a Florida TaxWatch report showed the bill could cost Florida businesses $36 billion.

Florida TaxWatch Releases Reports Looking at Broward College’s Broward UP (April 14, 2021)
Florida Daily
On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch announced the release of the taxpayer research institute’s latest report, “An Independent Assessment of the Value of Broward UP.”

'Big tech' bills will harm businesses (April 14, 2021)
Stuart News (Newspaper)
A Florida TaxWatch analysis estimates that total initial compliance costs for the bills would be $36.5 billion, representing 3% of Florida’s entire gross state product in 2019!

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.13.21 (April 13, 2021)
Florida Politics
Proponents for e-fairness legislation, including the bill’s House sponsors, Reps. Chuck Clemons and Chip LaMarca, argue it will level the playing field for local and brick-and-mortar businesses. The Florida Chamber of Commerce lauded the measure, as did Florida TaxWatch.

Online sales tax plan hits Gov. DeSantis’ desk (April 12, 2021)
Florida Politics
Florida could begin enforcing taxes on online sales beginning July 1.  Legislation to enforce taxes on online sales officially awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ signature. The Florida Chamber of Commerce lauded the measure, as did Florida TaxWatch.

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.13.21 (April 13, 2021)
Florida Politics
— DAYS UNTIL —
Florida TaxWatch Spring Meeting and PLA Awards — 51

Make outside retailers pay sales taxes (April 9, 2021)
Key West Citizen (Newspaper)
That’s why Dominic Calabaro, the CEO of Florida TaxWatch – the respected nonpartisan group that’s long served as a government watchdog for Floridians – put it well when he called Gruters’ bill “a win all the way around” for average citizens.

Florida joins federal lawsuit challenging tax-cut restrictions in rescue plan (April 9, 2021)
Florida Record
Florida TaxWatch is also pressing for clarification of the tax provision in the law so that it can take an informed position and advocate for the best interests of the state’s taxpayers, according to the organization.

State task force sounds alarm bell on police radio network (April 9, 2021)
The Capitolist
The TaxWatch report concludes with a recommendation they suggest is “in the best interest of all Floridians:” to extend the current SLERS agreement with the current vendor through the end of FY 2025-26.”

Florida TaxWatch Marks Taxpayer Independence Day (April 9, 2021)
Florida Daily
Florida TaxWatch announced that Friday marks the 2021 Florida Taxpayer Independence Day.
This symbolic occasion assumes that every dollar Floridians earned since the start of the year goes to pay federal, state, and local taxes, but now, they will finally begin earning for themselves. This year, it took Florida taxpayers an average of 98 days, or more than three months, to satisfy their tax obligations.

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.9.21 (April 9, 2021)
Florida Politics
Happy ‘Taxpayer Independence Day’ — Florida TaxWatch says Friday is Florida Taxpayer Independence Day, also known as the day when Floridians stop working to pay their tax bill and start earning money for themselves. “It’s taken four more days to achieve taxpayer independence in 2021 than it did in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic really started to gain momentum.

Florida TaxWatch Looks at Efforts to Replace Existing Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (April 7, 2021)
Florida Daily
On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch released “Calling All Cars? Florida’s Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS-2) Underscores the Need for Procurement Reform,” an analysis of efforts made to replace the aging Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) equipment and ensure law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders can communicate quickly and effectively.

Florida TaxWatch analyzes troubled SLERS procurement process FTW says the SLERS ordeal underscores the need for procurement reform. (April 7, 2021)
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch released a report Wednesday analyzing the longrunning saga to replace the aging Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System.

Florida TaxWatch: Newspapers vital to transparent government (April 6, 2021)
Florida Today
As a nonpartisan government watchdog and taxpayer-research institute that focuses on promoting government accountability and transparency, Florida TaxWatch supports the use of public notices in local newspapers of record by government entities to notify all of their citizens of meetings and votes.

California-style data privacy law gets Florida support (April 6, 2021)
Miami Herald
Florida TaxWatch, which produced a study financed by unnamed industry sources, estimated it would cost Florida businesses $36.5 billion to develop the technology and meet the requirements.

Also published in:
Tampa Bay Times (Newspaper/Online) 
Bradenton Herald
Digital Munition
Security Infowatch
Government Technology

Text Update: Good News from the REC (April 6, 2021)
Florida Politics

Get Smart Fast About Budget Lingo (April 7, 2021)
INFLUENCE Magazine
p. 72


Chill Out, Unplug, and Unwind
These six books will help relieve your stress (April 7, 2021)
INFLUENCE Magazine 
p. 7


Opponents vow to intensify campaign against proposed Florida pension revamp (April 2, 2021)
The Center Square
In June, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) recommended the Legislature enroll all new public workers into a “Defined Contribution Investment Plan.” The move would save $2.7 million the first year and $9.8 billion over 30 years, according to FTW.

Can South Florida leap into the space industry? Here’s a new idea to lure business. (April 2, 2021)
Gulf Breeze News
When the program ended, the economy of the 72-mile-long Space Coast, which stretches from Melbourne to Titusville, took a major hit, said Jonathan Guarine, a research economist for Florida TaxWatch, the nonprofit business policy group that among other things tracks statewide economic development.

Protect public's right to watch government (April 3, 2021) 
The Walton Sun
As a nonpartisan government watchdog and taxpayer-research institute that focuses on promoting government accountability and transparency, Florida TaxWatch supports the use of public notices in local newspapers of record by government entities to notify all of their citizens of meetings and votes.

Rush to pass 'big tech' privacy bills will harm Florida's small businesses | Opinion (April 3-4, 2021)
Tallahassee Democrat (Online/Newspaper)
A Florida TaxWatch analysis estimates that total initial compliance costs for the bills would be $36.5 billion, representing 3% of Florida’s entire gross state product in 2019!

Also published in:
Florida Today (Newspaper)
The Ledger Online
St. Augustine Record (Newspaper)

Florida TaxWatch Warns About Privacy Protection Act Before the Legislature (April 1, 2021)
Florida Daily
Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released a briefing this week about the proposed “Florida Privacy Protection Act,” which recommends that policymakers analyze the unintentional costs that may accrue to smaller businesses and weigh them against the potential benefits to consumers from greater data privacy.

Bay County residents: do you know what you pay in property taxes? (April 1, 2021)
WMBB Panama City
Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, said Bay County is poised for substantial growth, but it will take some work along with checks and balances on government spending.

 

 

 

RADIO & VIDEO

 

 

 

WMBB (ABC) Panama City 4/1/2021 5:05:23 PM
WMBB (ABC) Panama City 4/2/2021 5:04:45 AM
WMBB (ABC) Panama City 4/2/2021 6:04:56 AM
 
 

 
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