— St. Petersburg, Fla. — For 50 years, tens of thousands of AARP Foundation volunteers nationwide and nearly 3,000 from across Florida have made older taxpayers a great offer: They’ll help you prepare your annual federal income tax returns – and they’ll do it for free. Starting Feb. 1 through April 17, AARP Foundation will do it again. AARP Foundation volunteers will provide free tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free tax …

5 States

— TALLAHASSEE – AARP Florida is urging state utility regulators to permanently lower the rates that homeowners and businesses are charged for electricity, natural gas and other utilities after a federal tax overhaul took effect on Jan. 1. Recent changes to federal tax law reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Accordingly, regulated utilities are clearly obligated to reduce rates immediately to reflect the tax savings, said Zayne Smith, Associate State Director for Advocacy for AARP Florida. “Today, …

5 States

— For many years, AARP Florida has been a leading voice fighting for consumers on utilities across the state and nation. In some cases, AARP Florida is the only voice representing residential ratepayers. Last year alone, AARP played an important role in the Legislature’s decision to defeat a plan that would have allowed electric-power companies to explore for natural gas in risky drilling projects in other states – and charge consumers up to $22.5 billion over 30 years for the gamble, …

Florida State Capitol. Photo by Adobe Stock
5 States

— TALLAHASSEE – As Florida lawmakers prepared to gather in the state capitol for the 2018 legislative session, AARP Florida urged lawmakers to embrace innovative solutions to the problem of providing emergency backup power for elder-care facilities in the aftermath of a major disaster. AARP Florida Advocacy Manager Jack McRay sent a letter to all 160 state lawmakers urging them to require that all Florida nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have emergency backup power generators and fuel sufficient to provide emergency …

5 States

— AARP Florida Director Jeff Johnson warned hundreds of thousands of older Floridians Wednesday that they could lose thousands of dollars in income-tax deductions next year if Congress moves ahead with a U.S. House plan to impose a “health tax.” A House tax plan adopted last month would eliminate a current feature of tax law that allows Americans to deduct some of the cost of high medical expenses from their taxable income. As of 2017, taxpayers can deduct qualified medical expenses …

5 States

— TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson issued the following statement commending Duke Energy Florida for stepping back from the consumer-unfriendly practice of utility advanced-cost recovery as part of a settlement agreement now under consideration by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). “Today the Florida Public Service Commission took up a proposed settlement agreement for Duke Energy Florida that, on the whole, shows potential for Florida consumers,” Johnson said. “It’s high time that utility companies began to step …

5 States

— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 CONTACT:  Dave Bruns, 850.577.5161 dbruns@aarp.org Tallahassee, Fla. — AARP Florida, with 2.8 million members in the Sunshine State, has asked the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) to place a proposed constitutional ban on utility-company advance cost recovery initiatives before Florida voters in the 2018 election. Once every 20 years, the CRC is allowed to place proposed constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot for voters’ consideration. Now, AARP is calling upon Floridians to join the …

— Join AARP Tallahassee and the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department for the Slow Roll Boomer Bike Ride through downtown Tallahassee. The ride begins at Anita Favors Thompson Plaza traveling through the west side of Cascades Park up Franklin Street to the Smokey Hollow Memorial, the loops around the east Cascade with a stop at the Florida prime meridian marker (and county map of Florida) back to Thompson Plaza. Event information: When: Saturday, Oct. 28 @ 9:30 am Registration: The even is …

5 States

— As Floridians regroup from Hurricane Irma, it is clear that the state’s system for protecting frail older residents failed after Hurricane Irma. Ten people died in a tragic chain of miscommunication and inexplicable failure to act after a Broward County rehabilitation center lost cooling for more than 150 residents for three days during Hurricane Irma. Astonishingly, a fully functional hospital, where air conditioning was available, was right across the street. “Florida’s frail elders have spent lifetimes raising families and building …

jeff johnson aarp florida state director

— By Jeff Johnson (This op-ed originally appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of the Sun Sentinel) Still struggling with Irma’s aftermath, Floridians were stunned by news Wednesday that eight frail elders died from heat-related causes after a Hollywood, Fla., nursing home lost its air conditioning.  A hospital with functioning air conditioning was across the street. A criminal investigation is now under way into the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, but initial reports seem to indicate that miscommunication …