May 27, 2020

Pandemic Costs Fla. $880M In April Revenue, Report Says [Law360]

Paul Williams writes:

"Florida tax collections came in almost $880 million below estimates in April as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a state economic report that found the health crisis hit sales tax revenue the hardest.

Nearly $600 million of the tax collection shortfall was attributed to a drop-off of sales tax collections, according to a monthly revenue report released Tuesday by the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. The report said the state's tourism, hospitality and auto sales industries accounted for the bulk of the sales tax deficit.


Most states are facing precipitous reductions in tax collections as governors around the country have closed businesses to curb the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. But Florida's coffers were deemed especially vulnerable, given that the state does not levy an income tax and is one of only two states with a statewide sales tax that have not yet imposed tax on sales from out-of-state businesses that sell into Florida.

'Florida's heavy reliance on the sales tax as its main revenue source has put our state at risk, especially with the steep drop in tourism coinciding with the COVID-19 health crisis,' Sadaf Knight, CEO of the Florida Policy Institute, [emphasis added] told Law360 on Wednesday."


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