We retired Tax Justice Blog in April 2017. For new content on issues related to tax justice, go to www.justtaxesblog.org
When Florida governor Rick Scott took office, he set out to dramatically slash both taxes and public services. While his most radical proposals were very wisely rejected by the state’s slightly more reasonable legislature, he has unfortunately been partially successful in his crusade. One of Scott’s biggest tax breaks to date, SB 2142, orders the state’s five water management districts to cut property taxes by $210 million.
But it’s not the average Floridian who’s seeing a big reduction in their tax bill. Rather it’s large corporations that are getting the big payout.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the owner of a median priced home in Palm Beach County, for example, will receive a property tax cut of about $28 under the plan. But some corporations, who own very large and valuable tracts of land, are due to get a tax break of hundreds of thousands of dollars, with a few even breaching the million dollar mark.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the biggest corporate benefactors of SB 2142 also happened to be the biggest contributors to Scott and the GOP’s 2010 election campaigns. Florida Light & Power (FLP) and Walt Disney World were the big winners in Scott’s latest package of corporate giveaways.
FLP made contributions to the Florida GOP in the last election cycle of $1.1 million, while Disney contributed $854,364. Now these companies are slated to receive an estimated $1.8 million and $1.3 million, respectively, worth of tax breaks each year, which is a pretty good return on investment.
This is just the latest in a string of tax cuts backed by Scott with questionable benefits, and questionable motives as well.
Scott and the GOP would argue that tax cuts for corporations are necessary to jumpstart the economy, but the numbers don’t back that up. In fact, a recent Ocala.com article says that Scott’s budget will lose thousands of jobs due to the steep cuts in state spending it requires.
And the public is starting to notice. Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post noted that 6 out of 10 people surveyed in a Quinnipiac poll disapprove of the job Rick Scott is doing and 54% of respondents said the Florida budget was “unfair” to them. The article goes on to suggest that Scott may be the most unpopular governor in the country.
Floridians have a clear message for Governor Rick Scott: Mickey Mouse is doing just fine on his own.