Florida TaxWatch, Inc.
PHILOSOPHY OF ORGANIZATION
As a 501(c)(3), Florida TaxWatch is a private, non-profit, non-partisan research institute that over its 25 year history has become widely recognized as the watchdog of citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars. Our mission is to provide the citizens of Florida and public officials with high quality, independent research and education on government revenues, expenditures, taxation, public policies and programs and to increase the productivity and accountability of Florida Government.
Florida TaxWatch’s empirically sound research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of economic and tax and spend policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch has worked diligently and effectively to help state government shape responsible fiscal and public policy that add value and benefit taxpayers. It’s the only statewide organization devoted entirely to Florida taxing and spending issues.
How Florida Compares
Florida Intangibles Tax Report
Ideas in Action series
Research Report series
Budget Watch series
Substitute Business Communications Tax Repeal. A FTW Task Force and resulting research recommended that the Legislature repeal the tax to avoid a large unintended tax increase that would have a negative effect on the state’s economy and competitiveness. Subsequently, the Legislature passed a bill that repealed the tax and established a study commission. Constitutional Revision Reform. The 2005 Legislature created a proposed constitutional amendment that would implement a long- standing Florida TaxWatch recommendation to require a 3/5 vote of the electors voting on an amendment instead of the current simple amendments to the Florida Constitution have passed with the approval of a majority of registered voters.
Full Repeal of Tax on Intangibles. FTW began its push for a phased-in repeal of this unfair, outdated tax in 1998, through the work of the Intangibles Tax Task Force, with effective reductions of the rate from 2 mils to 1.5 mil, to 1 mil and down to .5 mil during the 2005 Session. In 2006, the Legislature completed the full repeal of the tax.
Repeal of Alcoholic Beverage Surcharge. For several years, and through two publications released during the 2006 Session, FTW strongly recommended repeal of this “by-the-drink tax,” that is costly and complicated to administer, audit and enforce, and unfairly burdensome to merchants. The 2006 Legislature repealed the surcharge to be effective July 2007.
Joint and Several Liability. TaxWatch provided key research and testimony quantifying the limited impact repeal would have on the state’s Medicaid budget. This bill abolished the legal doctrine of joint and several liability, ensuring that parties to a lawsuit will not be liable for damages in excess of their percentage of responsibility.
Championed True Property Tax Reform. Florida TaxWatch brought relative, data driven research and recommendations to urge true property tax reform - not just relief - to the Florida Legislature and the constitutional Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. The Center for Local Government Studies helped local citizens evaluate the operations of their local government.
Raising the Bar to Amend Florida’s Constitution. TaxWatch successfully urged voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would “raise the bar” and require a 60% voter approval to pass future amendments. Research has shown that only 10 of the past 103 amendments to the Florida Constitution have passed with the approval of a majority of registered voters, some leading to costly multimillion dollar expansions of government spending.