FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) along with elected leaders from Leon County and the City of Tallahassee highlighted the need for community participation in the 2020 Census. As the third largest and fourth fastest growing state in the country, the upcoming Federal Census count will be more important to the Sunshine State than nearly any other state. Federal grant programs distribute $700 billion using census data. If Florida is under-represented by the count, it could cost the state millions, or even billions, of dollars. Florida’s state and local officials need to immediately start ensuring the accuracy of the count by participating in existing intergovernmental processes to verify addresses and residences.
A recent Florida TaxWatch report shows that Florida receives less grants per capita than every other state in the nation and concludes, “It would be hard to argue that Florida’s share is anywhere close to equitable.” If Florida received the national average in per capita federal grants, the state would get $14.6 billion more of its tax money back.
According to a 2001 report to U.S. Congress by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Florida had the fourth largest undercount (200,670 persons) during the 2000 Census. At Florida’s per capita grant amount, this undercount would cost the state more than $225 million annually, or more than $2.5 billion over a decade.
“Our state is projected to be the fourth fastest growing state from 2020 to 2030,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “Florida TaxWatch has been covering this issue since the 1980s, and I’m grateful to the City of Tallahassee and Leon County for taking action. We encourage the rest of the state to follow their lead. The complete full and accurate count of every person in Florida for the 2020 Census is imperative to ensure that Florida receives its share of federal funding, as well as its rightful additional Congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives so our state remains competitive and successful for years to come.”
The City of Tallahassee and Leon County have each allocated $10,000 ($20,000 total) for a public outreach program known as the Complete Count Committee that will bring in community members to encourage people to participate primarily in areas that historically do not complete the census. It will pay for a multimedia public outreach campaign to include social media, traditional media and other ways of engagement.
“As Florida’s Capital City and the seventh largest city in the state, we are excited to do our part and set the example for how we can achieve results by working together as a community,” said City of Tallahassee Mayor John E. Dailey. “It’s imperative that everyone understand the importance of being counted during the census, and we are committed to meeting people where they are so that we ensure full participation and accurate representation. For the first time, census forms may be submitted online, making social media and digital promotion an integral part of public outreach efforts. By partnering with Leon County, we are providing the additional resources needed to reach every corner of this community.”
“The 2020 Census officially begins April 1, 2020, and will determine how nearly $675 billion in federal dollars are distributed annually to state, local and tribal areas,” said Leon County District 3 Commissioner Rick Minor. “By Leon County partnering with the City of Tallahassee through the Complete Count Committee, we are confident our shared goal in giving every citizen the opportunity to complete their survey, that our community will not be shortchanged over the next decade.”
Read the FULL TaxWatch research briefing about the 2020 Census here.
About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for forty years, the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch, works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit http://www.floridataxwatch.org.
Media Contacts: Kendra Parson, Kendra@On3PR.com, 850-391-5040