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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 (April)

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!


Editorial: Florida government’s finances are in good shape for the revenue hit (April 27, 2020)
Florida Times-Union
Florida’s state government is in better financial shape to cope with the coronavirus epidemic than most states.That conclusion comes from an annual analysis from Florida TaxWatch that is released just before the usual tax day of April 15.
Taxpayer Independence Day is the imaginary date when Floridians begin earning money for themselves, not the government. It assumes that every dollar earned since Jan. 1 goes to pay local, state and federal taxes compared to total income in Florida.
Taxpayer Independence Day this year came one day earlier, April 14.

This editorial is also featured on the websites of the following newspapers

Dominic Calabro, Jim Folger: In COVID-19 uncertainty, 2020 Census counts even more (March 27, 2020)
Florida Politics
As the impacts of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continue to spread across our state and nation, so too does the uncertainty it brings to every community it touches.
We are undoubtedly living in unprecedented and uncertain times, but it is during crises that we see the very best in our fellow Floridians. Over these past days and weeks, many have looked for ways to help, and we have a simple suggestion — read your newspaper and complete the 2020 Census.

This editorial is also featured on the websites of the following newspapers.

State set for at least $8 billion in federal coronavirus direct aid, Florida TaxWatch concludes (March 27, 2020)
Florida Politics
Florida’s share of the coronavirus relief money in the $2.2 trillion federal bailout bill would start with at least $8.3 billion in direct assistance cash for state and local governments.

That’s according to an assessment produced and released Friday by Florida TaxWatch, based on that organization’s initial analysis of the CARES Act. The bill is going to the U.S. House of Representatives Friday, after the Senate approved the package 96-0 on Wednesday.

Florida TaxWatch Looks at BRIDG, State’s Manufacturing Industry (April 2, 2020)

Florida Daily
Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released a report looking at “the impact of advanced manufacturing in the Sunshine State and highlighting the importance of continued public investment in high-tech initiatives such as BRIDG, which diversify the economy, create jobs, boost wages, and increase local and state tax revenues.”

Takeaways from Tallahassee 🏛️ — Hitting the pause button ⏸️ (April 4, 2020)

Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch released its latest report on the impact of advanced manufacturing, highlighting a Central Florida next-generation manufacturing company.

The report analyzed the role of high-tech manufacturing initiatives like BRIDG, based in Osceola County’s NeoCity, to diversify the economy, create jobs, raise wages and increase tax revenue. Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro pointed to BRIDG as an example of a continued investment the state should renew to maintain a competitive edge.

Florida expected to weather coronavirus expenses, despite state's fiscal constraints (April 8, 2020)
Florida Record
A spokesman for Florida TaxWatch noted in an email that the nonprofit institute had called on the legislature to make cuts to individual lawmakers’ projects to preserve funding in the fiscal-year 2020-2021 budget in the wake of the coronavirus situation.

“As the attention of our leaders rightfully turns to the state response to the coronavirus pandemic, we trust that Gov. (Ron) DeSantis will use his veto pen judiciously and be mindful of the potential need for even more funding to be available to fight this illness and keep Floridians safe,” TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro said in a prepared statement.

Tourism marketing continues, as VISIT FLORIDA extension signed into law  (April 9, 2020)
Florida Politics
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation reauthorizing VISIT FLORIDA until 2023.The reauthorization comes at a critical time for Florida’s tourism industry, with restaurants, hotels, and cruise ships more than decimated by restrictions on movement and commerce driven by coronavirus response.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Associated Industries of Florida, American Advertising Federation, Florida TaxWatch, Florida Association of Counties and Florida Chamber all backed reauthorization

Takeaways from Tallahassee 🏛️ — Civic duty 🧑🏽🏫 (April 11, 2020)
Florida Politics
Florida has a lot of public employees, and they’re not just in the capital city.

A new report from the government watchdog Florida TaxWatch found that a single government entity is the largest employer in the county in 61 of Florida’s 67 counties.

Coronavirus Florida: Partisanship holds up additional funding for small businesses (April 13, 2020)
The Palm Beach Post 
An additional $250 billion in aid to small businesses shut down in coronavirus containment was held up when congressional Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on how it should be allocated.
“You can’t take the politics out of politics,” said Dominic M. Calabro, CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “This is where it takes the leadership of the Senate, both majority and minority, to apply good judgment and good common sense to filter out that partisanship that may be political, but is also principled.

Last Call for 4.14.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics“  (April 14, 2020)
Florida Politics
Taxpayer Independence Day” was supposed to be today. But now it’s on hold. The day, celebrated by Florida TaxWatch each year, marks the point where Floridians have earned enough to cover their taxes for the year with the rest of their annual earnings being theirs to keep.
Heading into 2020, the nonpartisan watchdog had an optimistic outlook. It expected Floridians to earn more money this year than last, even penciling in Taxpayer Independence Day for a day earlier than last year.

Florida Taxes and Revenue Impacted by Coronavirus, Florida TaxWatch Analysis Finds (April 15, 2020)
Florida Daily
Tuesday was supposed to mark Taxpayer Independence Day in Florida but one of the top fiscal watch dogs in the state warned that coronavirus will greatly impact the Sunshine State.
Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released an analysis of COVID-19’s potential impact this week. The analysis shows that Floridians pay more than $300 billion in taxes, making up more than 30 percent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).  Most of those taxes–70 percent–go to the federal government.

Spending watchdog calls on lawmakers to adopt e-fairness bill, secure gaming compact to generate revenue (April 16, 2020)
The Center Square
The Florida Legislature undoubtedly will be called to a special session to assess how the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is evaporating revenues built into the state’s $92.3 billion fiscal year 2021 budget before it goes into effect July 1.
Tallahassee-based government spending watchdog Florida TaxWatch (FTW) is calling on lawmakers to “help shore up state revenue without raising taxes” by addressing two issues left unresolved during the 2020 legislative session.

TaxWatch on E-Fairness (April 17, 2020)
With Floridians largely staying at home, bars closed and restaurants restricted in their operations, the hospitality industry has taken a massive hit from COVID-19’s impact.  Ryan Dailey reports one Florida State University researcher says an uphill climb is certain.  But also says the industry is built to make a comeback.
Florida Taxwatch President/CEO Dominic Calabro talks to Tom Flanigan about a proposal for the Legislature to shift the burden of collecting and remitting sales taxes from online purchases from the buyers to the out-of-state companies making the sales.

As FL sales tax collections crash in a virus economy, it may be time to close sales tax loopholes to pump up cash (April 17, 2020)
Florida Phoenix
The COVID-19 crisis will blow a financial hole in Florida’s state budget. That’s because Florida, without a personal income tax, relies heavily on sales tax collections to fund its government. Sales taxes were projected to provide about $27 billion out of the state’s $34 billion general revenue fund this year. “There are some opportunities in even of the greatest of challenges,” Dominic Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch, said in an interview with the Florida Phoenix.


Capital Report: 4-17-2020 / TaxWatch on E-Fairness
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Bay News 9
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Cafe con Tampa livestream with Bill Carlson
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Our Twitter account @FloridaTaxWatch continues to grow. This month we reached 10% more people than March with a total of 37,800 impressions. This also led to gaining new followers to a current total of 5,019!

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