The Grassroots Corner March 8, 2021

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  • Source: FAIRtax
  • 04/09/2021

Did you ever wonder who the economic brain behind our movement is? Meet Dr. Karen Walby.

Dr. Walby has a remarkable resume. She graduated from Ohio State University with a doctoral degree in Political and Economic Geography and brings over 20 years of experience in tax policy and administration to the FAIRtax movement. She has been in academia, state government, and the private sector.

Dr. Walby began her career as a Research Consultant with the Florida Resource and Environmental Analysis Center while holding down another position as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Florida State University.

The top levels of the Florida State Government noticed her. She moved up to be an economist for the Florida Department of Commerce, where she performed analytics to help Florida attract new businesses to the state.  While at the Department of Commerce, she provided information to the Governor's Office, causing the Governor's Office of Planning and Budgeting to recruit her.  She received a promotion to Policy Coordinator for Tax and Economic policy during the Bob Graham Administration (Graham was Governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987). Then-Governor Bob Martinez appointed her to Deputy Director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budgeting (Martinez was Governor from 1987 to 1991).

Dr. Walby’s career then took her to the legislative branch to serve as Senior Tax Policy Analyst for the first Florida Tax & Budgeting Reform Commission. This commission met every ten years afterward.  Following her work with that Commission, Dr. Walby directed the Florida Unemployment Compensation Tax Program during the Governor Lawton Chiles Administration (Chiles was Governor from 1991 to 1998).

Dr. Walby also worked in the private sector.  She was the first Director of Research for Florida TaxWatch, Inc., a nonprofit organization that oversees tax and spending policy. She was also a senior consultant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP, researching and consulting in government affairs for nonprofit organizations and small businesses.

Dr. Walby first became interested in consumption taxes while working in Governor Graham's tax policy unit.  The Governor asked the team to estimate the impact of a national consumption tax on state revenues and the Florida economy. The team found that such a tax change would significantly boost both.

We at FAIRtax were fortunate that Governor Graham had Dr. Walby working on tax policy, because in 2004, when Leo Linbeck, Jr., of Americans for Fair Taxation, approached her about doing paid research for the FAIRtax, she enthusiastically accepted.

Dr. Walby now volunteers a considerable amount of time to our cause. She serves as a Board Member of Americans for Fair Taxation and as Treasurer of the Florida FairTax Educational Association, a 501(c)(3) organization in Florida.
Dr. Walby lives in Clearwater, Florida, with her husband, Mike. Her two sons and three grandchildren live nearby.

We thank Dr. Walby for her service to our cause.

Yours In the FAIRtax Movement!

Jim Bennett
AFFT Grassroots Coordinator & Secretary


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