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

Sunburn What's Burnin Today


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!






Sunburn — The morning 🌅 read of what’s hot   in Florida politics — 1.12.21 — Burnin’ today: Scott, Moody, Biden, Cabrera, Pence, Belichick (January 12, 2021)
Florida Politics/Sunburn
 – Florida TaxWatch is issuing a new report saying Florida businesses will pay a heavy price if the Legislature doesn’t protect them from COVID-19 liability lawsuits.

TaxWatch reports on Covid-19 & Business Protections (January 11, 2021)
This Week on the Florida Channel
Florida TaxWatch, a state government watchdog group, released two reports this week highlighting their support of business protections against COVID-19 lawsuits

Sunburn — The morning 🌅 read of what’s hot   in Florida politics — 1.11.21 —Burnin’ today: DeSantis, Scott, Rubio, Biden, Trump, Sicknick (January 11, 2021)
Capitol News Service / WFLA
Happening today — Florida TaxWatch will host a virtual news conference to announce new reports on COVID-19 liability protections and the state’s economic recovery. Joining TaxWatch will be Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, who chairs TaxWatch, 11 a.m. To receive the Zoom link, contact or 850-339-5773.

COVID Business Protection on Fast Track (January 11, 2021)
WCJB TV Gainesville
A new report from Florida TaxWatch estimates that the state could lose hundreds of thousands of existing jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity if lawmakers don’t act to protect businesses from COVID-related lawsuits.

Also published in:
Florida Trend
News 4 Jax
WCJB-TV Gainesville

Florida Tax Watch Study Shows Business Liability Protection Could Boost Economy (January 11, 2021)
A study commissioned by a state government watchdog group says the absence of COVID-19 liability protections may have cost the state more than 16 billion dollars. The Florida TaxWatch report suggests more than 200,000 jobs could have been lost. The report comes amid an effort to shield businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis says the protection will help provide a boost to the economy by providing confidence for businesses to reopen.

Also published in:
WJCT – Jacksonville

FL TaxWatch endorses legislation blocking lawsuits by people who catch COVID at work (January 11, 2021)
Florida Phoenix
Florida TaxWatch and a Republican Cabinet member are putting pressure on the Legislature to pass civil liability protection from lawsuits related to COVID-19 against businesses that follow safety guidelines during the pandemic. “As you read this report, you’ll also know that there is one clear recommendation that cuts across all others,” said Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of TaxWatch.

Florida lawmakers file bill to provide COVID-19 liability protections (January 7, 2021)
Capitol News Service / WFLA
Florida TaxWatch, the state’s top fiscal watchdog will announce the findings of two reports Monday, giving an overview of the potential economic impacts to Florida businesses if liability protections are not passed.

Two years into his tenure, Gov. DeSantis faces pitfalls, victories and the all-encompassing COVID-19 (January 4, 2021)
Florida Phoenix
Dominic Calabro, executive director and CEO of the nonpartisan good-government organization TaxWatch, argued that, regarding COVID, DeSantis has weathered the crisis well.
 Overall, Florida is in a much better position than many other states,” Calabro told the Phoenix.
 Better, Calabro said, than he himself had predicted. “For better or worse, you have to give the governor who’s sitting at the time [of crisis] a lot of the credit or discredit. And I think he deserves a tremendous amount of credit.”

Lori Berman Champions Water and Pool Safety for Children Bill in the Florida Senate (December 30, 2020)
Florida Daily
Berman also reeled in the support of Florida TaxWatch.
“It is clear SB 358 will save taxpayers’ hard-earned money directly by saving lives, including the unnecessary pain and hardship on hundreds of Florida families and communities who experience the unnecessary death of a child by drowning. This is not only unnecessary, it is unacceptable for the Sunshine State,” Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, said in support of the bill.

Florida TaxWatch remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ in 2021 economic outlook
The nonprofit forecasted home prices would reach new highs. (December 30, 2020) 
Florida Politics
Florida Tax Watch warned Floridians on Wednesday to be “cautiously optimistic” about the year ahead.
While the 2021 economic preview suggests Florida’s labor market will recover some as vaccine access broadens, the group warned Floridians not to hold their breath. While the job growth prospects may appear promising, Florida TaxWatch warned that some of the benefits wouldn’t readily translate to the consumer market.

Florida’s economy doing better than state economists had feared
Despite the coronavirus’ battering of the state’s tourism industry, sales and corporate income taxes finished the year stronger than expected. (December 21, 2020)
Tampa Bay Times
Despite high unemployment and record household saving this year, the state saw better-than-expected sales and corporate income taxes to close out 2020, prompting state economists to project rosier estimates for the state’s general revenue over the next several years. “It’s very surprising on the surface,” said Kurt Wenner, vice president of research for Florida TaxWatch, which advocates for limited government spending. “It’s hard to believe that we’re bringing in the revenue that we are.”

Also published in:
Bradenton Herald
Miami Herald

Takeaways 🥡 from Tallahassee 🏛(December 19, 2020)
Florida Politics

The Florida Department of Revenue this week announced it received 11 2020 TaxWatch Productivity awards. The awards go to state employees and work teams whose innovation and productivity save Florida taxpayers’ money and help the state deliver services more efficiently

PIRG report says $1.1B for Florida toll road ‘boondoggle’ is ‘veto-proof’ (December 16, 2020)
The Center Square Florida
The Florida Legislature’s tentative multibillion-dollar plan to build 330 miles of toll roads across the state by 2030 has drawn criticism within the state as a wasteful and needless degradation of habitat in environmentally sensitive areas. Three task force reports are on DeSantis’ desk. None could justify the projects, which critics, including the 80-member Roads To Ruin coalition and Florida TaxWatch, have lambasted as costly and environmentally intrusive.

Major boondoggle? National public-interest group rips FL’s toll-road plans; state says, too soon to judge
(December 15, 2020)
Florida Phoenix
The Florida Legislature’s controversial plan to build three major toll highways through rural landscapes is a “boondoggle” of the first order, says the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The report says the estimated traffic usage would not generate enough toll revenue to make them economically feasible, a finding echoed by Florida TaxWatch, which estimated toll rates on the corridor it studied would have to be set dramatically higher than the average rate on state turnpikes.






WFTX-FTM (FOX) – Fort Myers 1/11/2021  6:31:26 PM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/11/2021 6:00:32 PM (CST)


WFLX (FOX) – West Palm Beach 1/11/2021 10:32:34 PM


WCTV (CBS) – Tallahassee 1/11/2021 11:04:55 PM


WFTX-FTM (FOX) – Fort Myers 1/11/2021 11:05:53 PM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/11/2021 10:07:08 PM (CST)


WTXL (ABC) – Tallahassee 1/11/2021 11:14:44 PM


WPTV (NBC) – West Palm Beach 1/12/2021 4:45:36 AM


WTXL (ABC) – Tallahassee 1/12/2021 5:05:14 AM


WFTX-FTM (FOX) – Fort Myers 1/12/2021 5:06:08 AM


WZVN-FTM (ABC) – Fort Myers 1/12/2021 5:07:23 AM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/12/2021 4:34:49 AM (CST)


WCJB (ABC) – Gainesville 1/12/2021 5:35:36 AM


WEAR (ABC) – Pensacola 1/12/2021 4:46:38 AM (CST)


WPTV (NBC) – West Palm Beach 1/12/2021 5:51:37 AM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/12/2021 5:04:45 AM (CST)


WTXL (ABC) – Tallahassee 1/12/2021 6:05:24 AM


WEAR (ABC) -- Pensacola 1/12/2021 5:05:25 AM (CST)


WZVN-FTM (ABC) – Fort Myers 1/12/2021 6:07:17 AM


WFTX-FTM (FOX) – Fort Myers 1/12/2021 6:09:22 AM



WPTV (NBC) – West Palm Beach 1/12/2021 6:35:29 AM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/12/2021 6:06:04 AM (CST)


WFTX-FTM (FOX) – Fort Myers 1/12/2021 7:38:13 AM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/12/2021 6:51:50 AM (CST)


WFLX (FOX) – West Palm Beach 1/12/2021 8:16:01 AM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/12/2021 7:27:03 AM (CST)


WFLX (FOX) – West Palm Beach 1/12/2021 7:42:39 AM (CST)


WFTX-FTM (FOX) – Fort Myers 1/12/2021 8:45:40 AM


WMBB (ABC) – Panama City 1/12/2021 7:57:39 AM (CST)


WZVN-FTM (ABC) – Fort Myers 1/12/2021 9:06:03 AM

WFLA-Tampa Bay (NBC) 1/11/2021 4:36:19 PM
WCTV-Tallahassee (CBS) 1/11/2021 5:02:54 PM
WFTX-Fort Myers (FOX) 1/11/2021 5:13:23 PM
WJXT-Jacksonville 1/11/2021 5:15:47 PM
WCJB-Gainesville (ABC) 1/11/2021 5:25:04 PM
WFLA-Tampa Bay (NBC) 1/11/2021 5:33:46 PM
WPTV-West Palm Beach (NBC) 1/11/2021 5:34:21 PM
WZVN-Fort Myers (ABC) 1/11/2021 6:03:56 PM
WMBB-Panama City (ABC) 1/11/2021 5:01:50 PM (CST)




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