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

Revisiting Efforts to Deregulate Florida’s Electric Power Market What We Learned from Texas' Blackouts

Florida’s economy depends in large part on the availability of reliable and affordable electric power. Like most states, Florida has a regulated energy market that considers electric power to be an essential service for its economic well-being. The interests of electric utilities and their customers are addressed by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) which sets reasonable rates and standards for reliability, ensures quality of services, and protects the consumers. Good regulatory policy promotes the alignments of those interests.

Two years ago, a constitutional amendment was proposed that, if approved by 60 percent of the voters, would have required Florida to “deregulate” its retail market for electric power. Florida’s IOUs would have been required to sell their generation assets to companies not regulated by the PSC. In a deregulated market, the price consumers pay for the transmission and distribution of electricity is generally still regulated but the price they pay for the actual electric power generated is not; customers choose their electricity provider from among any number of retail electricity suppliers available in their area who procure from unregulated generating companies the power that those retail electricity suppliers sell to customers.

In Texas, a 2016 pricing analysis affirmed previous findings that Texans living in deregulated areas had historically paid more for electricity, on average, than Texans living in areas exempt from deregulation. All told, Texans living in deregulated areas would have saved nearly $25 billion dollars in lower residential electricity bills from 2002 through 2014 had they paid the same average prices during that period as Texans living outside deregulation. This “lost savings” amounts to more than $5,100 for a typical household.

The failure of Texas’s market-driven, deregulated electric power network begs the questions “what if the ballot proposal had passed review by the Florida Supreme Court” and “what if Florida voters had voted to deregulate Florida’s electric power network?”

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