Florida Income Tax Controversy One Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Later, however Democratic leaders approved a bipartisan plan, minus the homestead tax increase. ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007)

Income Tax Proponents, Opponents and Components Income tax proponents argue that even with Florida's exemptions for food and medicine, poorer people pay a higher percentage of their income in the form of sales tax than wealthier citizens. They argue that an income tax would prove to be fairer as sales tax is regressive. These individuals to support Florida adopting an income tax insist that this method of taxation, unlike the sales tax, could be adjusted to shift the burden to individuals who can afford to pay more than those who are poorer. ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007) Iris Lav, the center's deputy director, nevertheless insists that the probability of anyone persuading Floridians that they need to adopt an income tax, equates to: "a little bit of 'If fishes could fly'."

Dominic Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch, a budgetary watchdog group, primarily supported by business interests, points out that Florida's income tax ban constitutes part of their state's enticing allure; that it serves as "kind of the social contract." ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007) Politicians perceived Florida's ban on income tax, which was adopted to encourage the state's growth in 1924 as one vital way to attract wealthy people and facilitate potential investments in Florida while other states started to tax incomes. Martha Barnett, a Tallahassee lawyer, and also a member of Taxation and Budget Reform Commission stated: "... Florida is very different. It wasn't designed to get snowbirds here, but there are people today who move to Florida and change their residency, usually people in the latter part of their life, because we have no personal income tax." ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007) Initially, when Floridians adopted the income tax ban, the law also prohibited the state from collecting a corporate income tax.

During 1971, then Governor Reubin Askew campaigned and successfully convinced voters to amend Florida's State constitution so corporations would have to pay their "fair share" of Florida's government. ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007) When Barnett served on the first Taxation and Budget Reform Commission during 1990-92, she proposed that Florida remove the personal income tax prohibition. When Barnett served as a member of the Constitution Revision Commission in 1997-98, she once proposed this unpopular taxation move. She did not necessarily want an income tax, Barnett stated, but felt the Legislature ought to reserve the option. "Both commissions resoundingly rejected the idea." ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007) D'Alemberte, also an individual who contends Floridians need to again consider the option of adopting the income tax, as well as a former American Bar Association president and chairman of the Constitution Revision Commission, reports he will encourage the tax commission to discuss the income taxes' pros and cons.

Even if the panel does not do anything else on the income tax issue, he contends, something needs to be done to ensure that it is made known that it is a viable option. "I don't know how we really can have a preliminary discussion about tax policy without at least putting that system of taxation on the table," D'Alemberte said. ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007)

In response to the 2006 Florida Government Accountability Act, consistent with Florida TaxWatch, Florida state legislatures imposed substantive and procedural modifications to reportedly increase effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability among agencies, boards, and commissions. To produce good decisions for Florida taxpayers, this enhanced legislative understanding of agency needs and activities reportedly proved to be a valuable byproduct of the act. Florida Tax Watch warns that good intentions, such as those which led to the 1994 Ac passing, must be enhanced by the link of a sustained commitment of time, interest, and consequential actions on the part of legislators. ("Making Florida's Latest Government," 2006)

Contrary to D'Alemberte and Barnett, Sansom argues that compared to income tax, taxing sales proves to be a fairer scenario, "People who spend less pay less and vice versa, they reason." ("State income tax unthinkable," 2007) Sansom insists.

In response to the study Dr. Thomas R. Dye, (cited by Sepp, 2008) President of the Lincoln Center and a recognized expert in the field of state public finance conducted for NTUF, John Berthoud, NTUF President, stated: "Floridians now have more than ninety-nine thousand reasons to fear adoption of a state income tax."

Berthoud concludes that when a state implements a state income tax, lost opportunities to provide for a person's comfortable retirement, to save for his/her children's education, and to reap benefits of their own hard work compounds the loss of an individual's personal income. "The only thing that gains from an income tax is big government." (Sepp, 2008) the evidence clearly reveals, Berthoud purports, that an income tax in Florida would basically fuel government, while stalling Florida's economy.

Dye, a former McKenzie Professor of Government at Florida State University, utilized econometric modeling to analyze the impact of an income tax in the nine states that most recently adopted one. He then applied these results to Florida, presuming an income tax were adopted in Florida, beginning in the year 2000. The following points denote findings Dye relates: (Sepp, 2008)

From 2000-2010, Florida government would increase spending by a cumulative total of $81.4 billion (in inflation-adjusted 1998 dollars). By 2020, the cumulative total would reach a whopping $311.0 billion.

On a per capita basis, annual state spending would be $1,511 higher for each Florida resident by the year 2020 (in 1998 dollars).

Meanwhile, from 2000-2010, Florida citizens would lose a total of $509.5 billion in personal income (in constant dollars) due to the negative economic effects of an income tax. That cumulative figure would reach an astounding $1.95 trillion by the year 2020.

The per-capita income loss between 2000 and 2020 would add up to $99,243 (in 1998 dollars) because of a state income tax. (Sepp, 2008)

Dye found that in seven of the nine states which adopted a personal income tax since 1967, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, even adjusting for inflation, the state government's spending significantly increased faster after the state adoption of an income tax than is had grown in the 2-4 decades in addition, during the same period, growth rates of personal income in six of the nine states slowed after the states adopted the income tax vs. The time prior to the income tax adoption. No Other Answer... Sepp (2008) argues that if Florida adopted a personal income tax, it would in turn, "bloat the state's budget and sink the state's economy, according to an exhaustive economic analysis released today by the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) and the Florida-based Lincoln Center for Public Service." If a tax such as an income tax was approved and took effect in 2009, by the year 2020, every Florida resident could possibly lose the equivalent of almost one hundred thousand dollars of his/her personal income. This researcher contends that the response to the question: "Should the state of Florida adopt income tax?," merits an unequivocal: "No." From researched information presented in this midterm paper which examined contentions contributing to the controversy of Florida adopting a personal income tax, per se, along with the exploring a number of economic implications relating social costs and benefits of Florida's legislative and fiscal policies, no other answer than "No" works.

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State income tax unthinkable in Florida." The Gainsville Sun. The Associated Press; April 14, 2007. Retrieved October 10,…

Cite This Research Proposal:

"Florida Income Tax Controversy One" (2008, October 11) Retrieved February 19, 2018, from

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