TALLAHASSEE -- Dominic Calabro, president and chief executive officer of Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog, applauded the end of the hurricane tax in Florida but said fiscal dangers remain.
Floridians will experience lower insurance taxes for the first time in nearly a decade starting New Year's Day.
Since the devastating 2004-05 hurricane season, Floridians have been penalized with fees to help pay off damage from strong storms. All insurance policies in the state of Florida, including home insurance, auto insurance and business insurance, will no longer be forced to pay the Florida Catastrophe Fund Emergency Assessment, known as Florida's hurricane tax.
"Gov. Rick Scott and the State Board of Administration should be applauded for taking the right steps to help end the costly assessment a full year ahead of schedule," Calabro said in a release. "Eliminating this tax will allow consumers to save more of their hard-earned dollars and eliminate an impediment to Florida job growth and business development.
Florida has avoided a direct hurricane hit for nearly a decade.
"But it's clear after 10 years of paying costly assessments that Florida residents, homeowners and businesses are very vulnerable to a future storm," he said. "To prevent Florida's policyholders from paying future hurricane taxes, the 2015 Legislature must act to reform the Florida Catastrophe Fund. Florida policymakers should take steps to ensure that taxpayers don't need to worry about rising taxes while preparing to protect their homes, loved ones and communities during hurricane season.
The Florida Catastrophe Fund is now solvent but one or two strong storms could quickly result in billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities for Florida and its taxpayers, he said.