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Florida Tax Watch Study Shows Business Liability Protection Could Boost Economy

Passage in multilevel shopping mall
Roman Milert
Adobe Stock
Passage in multilevel shopping mall

A study commissioned by a state government watchdog group says the absence of COVID-19 liability protections may have cost the state more than 16 billion dollars. The Florida tax watch report suggests more than 200,000 jobs could have been lost. The report comes amid an effort to shield businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis says the protection will help provide a boost to the economy by providing confidence for businesses to reopen.

“The biggest concern they’ve got is dealing with COVID, you know will I even reopen again. And we have seen it pretty recently at least what I’ve been hearing and seeing from those boots on the ground," said Patronis. "Especially those family-owned businesses that may not have a succession plan or they have burned through the reserves they’ll simply make the business decision and pull the plug and not reopen.”

Patronis says the liability is not meant to be a blanket shield and is meant to protect businesses that follow safety protocols. The Taxwatch study says more than 400 COVID-19 lawsuits have been filed. The proposal gets its first hearing in a House committee Wednesday.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.