9 Actions Florida Should Take to Help Taxpayers Impacted by Hurricane Ian

1.     Postpone tax notices and waive penalties or interest for late tax filings in affected areas

2.     Extend the date for residents to take advantage of the tax discounts they would normally receive for paying property taxes and special assessments in November and postpone or defer the deadline for property tax installment payments

3.     Protect individual and business taxpayers from the risks for notices that they will likely not receive because their home or business addresses is not accessible anymore

4.     Issue no new audits in severely impacted areas, extend the statute of limitations and postpone existing audits that haven’t reached the assessment stage because these can’t be responded to while entire communities are still recovering

5.     Create procedures for fairly estimating taxes which can’t be calculated because records have been destroyed by the storm, moving away from the current method which significantly overestimates activity if no records are available

6.     Initiate procedures to offer payment plan assistance for late taxes, rather than resorting to the standard collection methods, like liens, levies, or bank freezes

7.     Retroactively apply the recently passed law that provides property tax refunds for residential property rendered uninhabitable as a result of a catastrophic event

8.     Provide tangible personal property relief and allow n on-residential properties rendered uninhabitable to receive property tax refunds

9.     Get Congress to pass a Disaster Tax Relief Act that includes provisions from past packages, including elements such as an Employee Retention Credit, an enhanced casualty loss deduction, and other relief provisions

Other Resources

Florida TaxWatch Statement on Hurricane Ian Recovery

Community Involvement

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High Failure Rates Among Nursing Students Indicated Need for a Cure

Beginning in the late 1990s, Florida, along with the rest of the nation, began to feel the effects of an unprecedented shortage of nurses. Everyone felt the crunch; hospital executives grappled with recruitment and retention problems, employed nurses commonly worked long hours to meet care demands, and patient safety was negatively impacted due to a lack of staff. In 2001, the Florida Legislature responded by establishing and funding the Florida Center for Nursing (FCN). The FCN’s mission is to quantify Florida’s growing scarcity and craft recommendations to increase the quantity and quality of Florida’s nursing workforce.

By 2007, FCN estimated a shortage of 16,500 registered nurses (RNs) and warned that “the supply of RNs must increase more rapidly to fill existing vacancies and keep pace with new job growth.” Concurrently, nursing schools reported turning away a large number of applicants due to lack of faculty and clinical practice sites. The University of Florida’s School of Nursing rejected at least two qualified students for every student accepted while Pasco-Hernando Community College warned some students that they may need to wait up to 4 years for a seat in their program.

In 2009, the Legislature responded by modifying the nursing education approval process. Previously, Florida’s Board of Nursing (BON) had full authority to sanction new nursing schools. The legislative changes codified and shortened the process, resulting in a rapid increase in the number of nursing programs. From 2009 to 2016, the number of programs doubled and there are currently 350 active nursing education programs in Florida. Since the rule change, only 20 prospective nursing programs have been rejected. While the legislation was successful, there were unintended consequences.

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