Maybe Florida is tired of winning. The state is seeing a competitive election between leftist Democrat, Bernie Sanders’ acolyte Andrew Gillum and Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis.
This, despite the fact Florida has been an overwhelming success story. After two-terms of Governor Rick Scott and a Republican legislature, the state’s low, and no tax environment has sparked a boom that is the envy of other states. People and businesses have flocked to Florida, and the economy has grown.
Just this week, Florida recorded a record jobs gain for the past year, adding over 407,000 jobs between September 2017 and September 2018.
But Andrew Gillum’s agenda would change all that, as a new analysis from James Madison Institute (JMI), Florida’s free market think tank, shows.
Gillum is calling for a 40 percent hike in the corporate income tax rate, which will immediately move Florida from leading the region in competitiveness to last.
The story only starts there. The candidate estimates this is a $1 billion tax hike, but (as JMI notes) this is a static estimate. Surely some businesses will change behavior, and move out, reducing the actual revenue haul.
Even the rosy $1 billion estimate does not come near paying for Gillum’s $2.6 billion wish list.
If he actually wants to cover his proposed new spending, the corporate rate would have to go to 11 percent, or 49th in the nation. That drops Florida behind Germany internationally as well.
Let’s be clear, that means Gillum’s policies would cost the Florida economy a massive $12 billion, while driving up costs for consumers.
Why would Floridians, who have enjoyed a booming state economy, want this? Maybe it should be no surprise Gillum has so many fans outside Florida, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, George Soros, and Bernie Sanders.
It could be far worse. These figures do not cover Gillum’s rhetoric in support of “Medicare-for-All”.
If he pursued that at the state level, it would cost $163 billion. That is quintuple the size of Florida’s $32 billion budget. If funded through sales tax, that would require an inconceivable 39 percent sales tax rate.
That’s a talking point that Gillum can’t cash, not without massive tax increases that will make Florida unaffordable.
Gillum of course pitches more spending on education as the reason for his tax hikes. Yet, a quick look at Florida’s performance in education shows the state has already increased education spending 37 percent during Gov. Scott’s tenure.
New York State, for example, trails Florida despite New York routinely ranking at-or-near the top in spending-per-pupil.
Gillum’s “education” spending does not seem motivated by what’s best for student progress, but grabbing more tax money to hand to his pals at the American Federation of Teachers who have boosted his campaign.
Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis has pledged to protect taxpayers from any and all tax hikes in order to keep Florida’s welcoming tax climate, and maintain the state’s success over the past decade.
The numbers don’t lie. The choice for Florida is between Andrew Gillum’s massive tax hikes that will make the state more unaffordable for families and businesses, and Ron DeSantis’ policies that will protect taxpayers and keep the state growing and prospering.