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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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October 2020 News Highlights

In the News


Workers Push to Pass Amendment 2 for $15 Minimum Wage as Florida’s Tourism Industry Fights It (October 1, 2020)
Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel points to study from Florida TaxWatch: "a nonprofit run by a board of directors that includes lobbyists for Walmart and Universal Orlando, that said the change would discourage businesses from hiring low-wage workers and discourage companies from coming to Florida. The study, which encourages people to vote against Amendment 2, says the timing could not be worse in light of the pandemic."

Your Public Trustee: A Look at Proposed Constitutional Amendments  (October 1, 2020)
Apalache Times
Using resources provided by the Florida TaxWatch, The James Madison Institute, the BallotPedia, and The Sun-Sentinel, the article summarizes constitutional amendments with the purpose of providing some information that might be helpful to encourage more informed votes.

Task Forces: Florida’s $10b Toll-Road Plan Is a ‘Want,’ Not a ‘Need’ (October 1, 2020)
The Center Square Florida
The Center Square highlights Florida TaxWatch concern over potential costs, concluding “further analysis of the costs, benefits and practicality of the Suncoast Connector, especially now that our state is facing unprecedented revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19,” is warranted.

Takeaways from Tallahassee: Expand the Court (October 3, 2020)
Florida Politics
Florida TaxWatch is advocating for the Legislature to expand Early Childhood Courts following its report this week on the system’s benefits. TaxWatch also urged lawmakers to make a dedicated revenue source for funding to offer more protections for young and vulnerable Floridians and improve the lives of families.

A Florida Voter's Guide to the Six Constitutional Amendments on the 2020 Ballot (October 3, 2020)
Tallahassee Democrat
Tallahassee Democrat's article highlights the fiscal impact analysis of Amendment 5 by Florida TaxWatch: "Florida TaxWatch, a non-partisan government study group, calculates a tax savings of $1,730 per $100,000 valuation on the average Florida home. Revenue loss to local governments would be relatively minor."

This story was republished in:
News Chief
Naples Daily News

Residents in Path of Florida Toll Road React to Report With Fear, Acceptance and Anticipation (October 2, 2020)
Tallahassee Democrat
Cites independent reports from Florida TaxWatch and environmental groups, the reports conclude toll roads related to Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance would be financially unfeasible and cause great environmental damage.

Promises and Failures: The $800 Million Broward School Bond Timeline (October 4, 2020)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel released a timeline on the Broward County school district bond history. On June 19, 2018, Florida TaxWatch urged school board members to have “candid conversations” about why so many projects are stalled and whether the school district will be able to make good on its promise to complete the bond program.

New Fiscal Report Card Grades Desantis High in Spending Scrutiny, Lagging in Revenue Generation (October 5, 2020) 
The Center Square Florida
Discussed Florida TaxWatch recommendations on E-fairness and the expired Seminole gaming compact: lawmakers should join “the rest of the nation in taking measures to collect the taxes already owed on internet sales (e-fairness),” which “could bring in $700 million annually” for the state. FTW also said DeSantis and lawmakers must hasten negotiations with the Seminole Tribe to secure a renew gaming compact that could generate another $700 million annually for the state.

This story was republished in:
Washington Examiner

Economists: Raising Florida's Minimum Wage to $15 Will Hurt Workers, Small Businesses (October 5, 2020) 
The Center Square Florida
Discusses Florida TaxWatch's study on Amendment 2. The measure would create “winners and losers,” and state economists, in the fiscal analysis of Amendment 2, said raising the minimum wage by $1 annually through 2026 means “state and local government costs will increase” by $16 million in 2022 to $540 million in 2027.

This story was republished in:
Washington Examiner

Minimum Wage Fight Expected to be Close (October 13, 2020) 
News Service of Florida
The article was originally published by News Service of Florida and mentions Florida TaxWatch's criticism of Amendment 2, "The most visible opponent has been Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association President and CEO Carol Dover. Florida TaxWatch and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are among groups that have released studies highly critical of the amendment."

This story was republished in:


News Service of Florida
Susan MacManus, one of the state’s most-respected political experts, doesn’t expect Florida to face another election night like the one that turned into a month-long recount in 2000. “We are seeing a lot of misinformation being transmitted via text, social media, just about every form of communication possible,” MacManus said Thursday while appearing at the annual meeting of Florida TaxWatch.

Support for Florida's Minimum Wage Measure May Not Translate Into Election Day Votes (October 28, 2020) 
The Center Square
A new poll suggests flagging support for a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026. A Florida TaxWatch study from September that said the measure would create “winners and losers.”

Last-Minute Battles Over 3 Florida Ballot Measures Draw Controversy, Cash (October 27, 2020)
The Center Square Florida
A Florida TaxWatch study from September said the measure would create “winners and losers.” State economists, in their fiscal analysis of Amendment 2, said raising the minimum wage by $1 annually through 2026 means “state and local government costs will increase” by $16 million in 2022 to $540 million in 2027.

This story was republished in:
Apopka Voice

Sunburn - the Morning Reading of What's Hot in Florida Politics (October 27, 2020) 
Florida Politics
Is Halloween candy a trick or a treat? Both, if you’re buying it in Florida! Groceries are generally exempt from the Florida sales tax, but candy can get confusing.

Homestead and Veterans Amendments on Smooth Road Toward Approval (October 26, 2020)
Florida Phoenix
Florida Taxwatch and other organizations, including many of Florida’s major newspapers, nod to that same principle but have opined they see no harm in either of these amendments and that each provides modest tax relief to a few Floridians at a time when our state and national economies are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida Taxwatch Releases Voter Guide on Local Tax Referenda (October 22, 2020) 
Florida Daily
On Thursday, with less than two weeks to go until Election Day, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released its “2020 Voter Guide Special Edition: Local Tax Referenda,” analyzing the 33 ballot referenda before voters across Florida which propose more than $360 million in tax increases and $200 million in new bond issues.

Florida Taxwatch: State, Local Governments Collected $6,352 per Capita in Tax Revenue (October 22, 2020) 
The Center Square Florida
Florida’s state and local governments collect $6,352 in tax revenue for each of the state’s 21.5 million residents, according to an annual analysis by Florida TaxWatch (FTW), the nonpartisan, Tallahassee-based taxpayer research institute.

Florida Transportation Head Says Building Controversial Toll Roads Not Guaranteed (October 21, 2020)
USA Today Network- Florida Capital Bureau
A government watchdog is crying foul over the state’s decision to award an estimated $135 million contract to Deloitte, the same firm that built Florida’s flawed unemployment system. In its report, Florida TaxWatch called the contract award hard to believe.

This story was republished in:
Tallahassee Democrat

Florida TaxWatch Report Shows Taxes Below National Average in Sunshine State But They Are Rising (October 21, 2020)
Florida Daily
The “FTW How Florida Compares: Taxes” report is an easy-to-use guide to help Floridians better understand their state by comparing Florida’s taxes to those that are levied across the nation.

Editorial: A Tough Choice for Voters On Minimum Wage Amendment
Florida Times-Union
On the negative side, higher wages likely will be passed along to consumers with price hikes and increased costs to government. So government, like many businesses, would react likely by reducing employees or employee hours (referring to TaxWatch research).

Dark Money Fuels Effort to Hinder FL Citizens From Changing Constitution — ‘It’s Just the Way It Happened’ (October 16, 2020)
Florida Phoenix
Dominic Calabro, chairman, and CEO of TaxWatch, a nonprofit government watchdog organization, compared Amendment 4 to the high hurdles the U.S. Constitution erected for amendments, although in the context of Florida’s governing system.


News Radio 610 WIOD
Listen here

Watch the video

Listen to Dominic Calabro on Amendment 3 here
Listen to Dominic Calabro on Amendment 5 & 6 here

Bay News 9 / Spectrum News 13
Watch part 1 here
Watch part 2 here

WMBB News 13
Watch the video

SUNRISE – A Florida Politics Podcast
Listen here 14:16–22:50



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