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TaxWatch says state can save $4 billion-plus, with 135 changes

by John Kennedy | September 15th, 2011

Florida TaxWatch, the business-backed public policy group, has come up with more than $4.1 billion in potential state savings — if lawmakers and state government implement 135 cost-cutting recommendations.

Among the highlights: increasing good-behavior gain time for prison inmates, expanding electronic monitoring of criminals, and cutting back on stiff penalties for marijuana and cocaine possession. Reducing Medicaid fraud — which has bedeviled officials at the state and federal levels — could save $223.8 million alone, a TaxWatch cost-saving task force found.

TaxWatch said similar recommendations made since 2009 have saved the state more than $1 billion.

Some of the recommendations appear obvious: urging state agencies to buy generics over name-brand products could save $305 million, the organization said. And some of the ideas show some out-of-the-box thinking: selling ads on some DOT road signs could pull in $75 million, TaxWatch estimated.

Some proposals also carry plenty of controversy. Boosting eligibility requirements for students earning Bright Futures scholarships, eliminating the state’s traditional pension plan, ending the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program for public employees are put in play, but would surely face stiff opposition from some fronts in the Legislature.

The full report is at


2 Responses to “TaxWatch says state can save $4 billion-plus, with 135 changes”

  1. Sales Tax Says:

    How about imposing an extra penny on the sales tax. That way everybody gets to feel the pain.If you buy it, you pay it .Sales tax is the only fair tax and if utilized properly can eliminate all other taxes.

  2. BobinBoynton Says:

    Wow, I can’t believe what I am reading! Reward Good Criminal Behavior, Cut back the Penalties on Drugs “and then” Penalize the people who Teach our Children, Protect our Streets and Come to our Rescue when we are hurt. Seriously? Who makes up this Tax Watch Committee? Whose the President, Jimmy Buffett? No, he has better morals than that.
    What is this State coming to? Are they serious when they come up with these ideas?
    Let’s eliminate everyone’s retirement plan. Sorry, only those that work for the Counties and State. That is part of each persons comepnsation package so if you are already working they cannot legally do away with it for current employees. For new employees, who would want to work anywhere in this state as a Teacher, Police Officer, Fifefighter, etc. when you can work almost anywhere else and get these benefits and better pay.
    They need to realize, that each item has a consequence. Lighten the penalties on drugs- How much will that cost us in additional law enforcement, jails, medical for crack babies, etc.
    Wake up people, this so called Tax Watch group has a hidden agenda. I have a good idea what it is!

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