TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Statement from Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro"
Publix Super Markets has long been a Florida treasure. Known for its commitment to its employees and customers, the grocery chain has been serving Florida families since 1930. Today, Fortune announced its annual Fortune 500 list for 2016 and Florida TaxWatch wants to congratulate Publix for moving into the Fortune 100. The company came in at #87, up from #101 in 2015.
"The impact the grocery chain has on the state cannot be overstated. As of 2015, Publix has 768 stores in Florida that employ thousands of people throughout the state and is the largest employee-owned grocery store in the country. Additionally, the company contributes millions to the Florida community through charity and direct and indirect economic investments.
"Publix has a unique role in the history and founding of Florida TaxWatch. In 1977, incoming Senate President Phil Lewis was approached by Mark Hollis, then Vice President of Publix Super Markets, about the business community coming to the Legislature to seek increases in consumer taxes rather than finding ways to hold the line on spending. This launched the idea for a state government watchdog to serve as the eyes and ears for Florida taxpayers.
"Two years later, Hollis, now Publix President, and Senator Lewis, along with Publix Super Markets founder George Jenkins, Winn-Dixie Chairman J.E. Davis, T. Wayne Davis and Senator Ken Plante formed the Citizens Council for Budget Research, which five years later was renamed Florida TaxWatch. Hollis later served as Florida TaxWatch chairman. Additionally, former Publix Vice Chairman Barney Barnett also served as Florida TaxWatch chairman and is still an active member of the organization, along with Publix’s Vice President of Finance, Gino DiGrazia, who is actively serving on TaxWatch’s board and executive committee.
"Florida TaxWatch would like to congratulate Publix for their accomplishment and thank them for being a dedicated member of Florida TaxWatch and a beacon for the Florida community."