To: Members of the Florida State Legislature
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: A Pro-Taxpayer Agenda in 2022
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Florida, I commend you for your efforts to protect taxpayers and make Florida an even more attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.
Florida’s good example on tax policy is being followed by other states, now nine states have no income tax, with Mississippi working to become the 10th no-income-tax state. This good news for American taxpayers means more competition for Florida, and ATR encourages legislators to continue to reduce taxes, contain spending, and slash red tape that keeps people from working and starting businesses.
The Sunshine State stands in stark contrast to Washington, D.C., where President Biden and Congressional Democrats have been working overtime to tax more, spend more, and give the federal government more power over states. Their profligate spending has helped drive inflation to highs not seen in decades. With hardworking Floridians facing higher costs, many on fixed incomes, Governor DeSantis has proposed a temporary suspension of the state gas tax to provide around $1 billion in relief to Floridians. ATR strongly supports the Governor’s proposal.
President Biden has also pushed to give invasive new powers to the IRS, so the agency can monitor any bank account, credit union account, or third-party payment accounts (Venmo, PayPal) with gross inflows and outflows exceeding $600. Senate Democrats suggested a threshold of $10,000. A $10,000 threshold is little more than $200 in total inflows or outflows per week or $800 per month, amounts that many Americans could easily hit. These proposals have stalled, yet they still represent highly concerning invasions of the privacy of all Americans. States should send the message that they oppose these power grabs that would violate the privacy of 87,000 middle class Americans (according to the Joint Committee on Taxation).
Florida legislators have the opportunity to formally oppose the Biden administration’s IRS snooping proposal by supporting HM 641. This resolution, introduced by Rep. Bob Rommel, calls on the President, members of Congress, and Florida’s delegation, to oppose any such measure that comes up for consideration. ATR strongly supports this resolution, and urges legislators to advance it to the floor and vote yes.
ATR supports SB 1024 to alter net metering fees and adjust compensation for home solar generators. It is important to protect electricity ratepayers from cost shifting – which occurs when some favored consumers who use rooftop solar for electricity generation are paid an unjustifiably high rate for their electricity generation, a rate which does not factor in their grid usage or the maintenance costs that go into ensuring the grid is there to use.
Government incentives for solar have been and will continue to be phased down. Despite this, there remains a robust market or home solar. Proponents of free enterprise celebrate this while opposing state efforts to continue propping up solar and other specific industries. When private rooftop solar array owners are credited at or near the full retail electricity rate, those consumers avoid paying for the cost of their grid maintenance and use. As a result, costs are shifted to traditional ratepayers, acting as a regressive tax for households who don’t have or can’t afford a home solar array.
Across the country, left-wing activists and politicians have abused local government power to heavily regulate, tax, and even ban a wide range of products and services. Whether it is banning natural gas hookups, sharing economy options, or plastic straws, local governments interfere in the private activities of citizens, cripple innovative businesses, and drive up costs. ATR commends the Senate for prioritizing SB 280 to address this issue, and ensure that the liberties of Floridians are protected, and the rule of law is above the power of local government abuses. State preemption of local tax and regulatory authority is perfectly consistent with the view held by conservatives that many, if not most policy matters are better handled at the state as opposed to federal level of government.
Improving Criminal Justice
There remain many opportunities to improve Florida’s criminal justice system. This session, ATR urges legislators to support HB 257/SB 428 to eliminate user fees for juveniles. Public safety is best served by youth who are leaving the juvenile justice system rejoining society in a productive manner and becoming contributing adults. That means successfully completing their education and finding decent jobs. Reentering society with a pile of debt due to user fees gets in the way of these goals. That does not mean judges cannot order restitution, fines, or community service. It only limits user fees that function as a stealth tax system for the courts, and an ineffective one at that. Estimates find that only 11% of charged fees are collected.
Florida continues to be a leader among states – encouraging other states to pursue tax cuts, trim regulation, and exercise fiscal discipline.
President, Americans for Tax Reform