Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working

A new study titled Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working by State Budget Solutions found that, “Higher levels of funding do not ensure higher graduation rates, nor does it directly correlate to higher test scores on the ACT.” Florida’s numbers show that spending more on education has not moved the needle on student ACT scores or reduced the state’s drop out rate.

State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including a state-by-state analysis of education spending as a percentage of total state spending, and a comparison of average graduation rates and average ACT scores per state. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates.

Florida is no exception to this rule. State Budget Solutions reports, “None of the states spending the least on education (as a percentage) had the lowest average graduation rates. The same is true for ACT scores. An outlier to this general trend was Florida. In 2009, Florida spent less on education than 46 other states. In fact, Florida spent five percentage points less than the national average on education. Florida also underperformed in ACT scores, ranking third for the states with the lowest average ACT scores, but did not similarly underperform based on average graduation rates.”

Here are the Florida specific numbers provided in the study:

Percent of Florida’s Total Spending on Education:

2009 – 25%
2010 – 24.8% (NOTE: In 2010 Florida received an additional $700 million in federal RTTT funding)
2011 – 25.2%
2012 – 25.6%

Average ACT Composite Score for Florida:

2008-09 – 19.5
2009-10 – 19.5
2010-11 – 19.6

Florida Education Spending & Student Performance Data:

2009-10 Per Pupil Funding $400
2009 Drop Out Rate/NCES Drop Out Rate 76.3%/63.6%
2010 Drop Out Rate/NCES Drop Out Rate 79.0%/65.0%
2011 Drop Out Rate/NCES Drop Out Rate 80.1%/66.9%

NCES: National Center for Education Statistics

According to the study, “Each year, the United State spends billions of dollars on education. In 2010, total annual spending on education exceeded $809 billion dollars. Although it is unclear whether that figure is adjusted for inflation, that amount is higher than any other industrialized nation, and more than the spending of France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia combined. From 1970 to 2012, total average per pupil expenditures in the U.S. has more than doubled.”

“Despite higher levels of funding, student test scores are substantially lower in the United States than in many other nations. American students scored an average of 474 on a 600-point scale, performing only slightly better in science, with an average score of 489. By comparison, Canadian students scored an average of 527 and 534 on the same tests, and Finnish students scored 548 and 563, respectively,” notes the State Budget Committee study.

A conclusion of the study is, “As a result of centralization, states have less authority to develop state-specific metrics to accurately measure education initiatives. Localized control results in more narrowly tailored metrics and a better understanding of failure and success based on those metrics. Oversight at a local level is more practical and more effective than federal oversight.”

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Former Mayor Responds to Sarasota County School Board Raising Taxes

David Merrill, businessman and the former Mayor of the City of Sarasota, Florida, sent the below email to all Sarasota County School Board members.

School Board Members,

I urge you to reject the proposed increase in property taxes for schools. You can eliminate the need for the extra taxes by cutting wasteful policies and programs, and you have failed to make the case that the money will actually improve the education of our children.

Instead of looking to more taxes, you can find more than enough savings to eliminate the need for the taxes by replacing your credential-based compensation system for teachers.  Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, and Bill Gates have said we need to find the money to improve our schools by eliminating the waste and inefficiency from the type of compensation system that you use. Yet, other than perhaps for some new-hires, Sarasota’s teachers’ salaries are set from a salary table with two variables: advanced degrees and years of teaching.

In 2010 Arne Duncan said, ”There is little evidence teachers with masters degrees improve student achievement more than other teachers.” Despite this information, Sarasota pays for more advanced and special degrees than any other district in Florida. A full 67% of Sarasota’s teachers have a degree above a bachelor’s degree.  While some advanced degrees may be appropriate, does giving two-thirds of the teachers at Phillipi Shores Elementary School higher salaries because they have advanced degrees really do anything to help our children learn the alphabet and the multiplication tables?

When it comes to teacher longevity, Sarasota’s teachers have the 7th highest average longevity out of the state’s 67 school districts. However Harvard Professor Paul E Peterson’s study titled “It’s Easier to Pick a Good Teacher than to Train One: Familiar and New Results on the Correlates on Teacher Effectiveness” reports that there is little increase in a teacher’s effectiveness after the first three years of teaching.  But you continue to increase teachers’ salaries based solely upon the number of years that they’ve been teaching, when, instead, we should pay them based on a performance evaluation like other professionals.

Some of you may say that you know these arguments, but politically you can’t cut teachers’ pay.  Therefore, in the absence of courage to confront the teachers union, your argument is that you have no choice but to increase taxes.  But, based on FCAT and EOC Assessment scores, you can’t show that you have been good stewards of the half-billion dollars you have collected from the referendum-initiated school tax since 2002.

Looking at our FCAT history, Sarasota’s ranking among Florida’s school districts on the high-school Reading FCAT and Math FCAT are lower today than they were a dozen years ago.  For the first three years of the high-school Math FCAT back in 2000, 2001, and 2002, Sarasota’s score was either the second or the third highest in the state. Likewise, for the first two years of the high school Reading FCAT in 2000 and 2001, Sarasota’s scores were either second or third in the state.  When the school-tax referendum passed in 2002, everyone looked forward to new and innovative educational strategies to build on our excellent school district, but, instead, the school district immediately went into an inexplicable funk, from which you’ve not yet recovered.

(I use the FCAT scores from the highest grade in high school that the test is given because they include the cumulative learning from lower grades, and they are the closest measure of the performance of your finished product, the high school graduate.)

Sarasota’s Ranking on High School FCAT among 67 Districts

2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
Math
3
2
3
10
11
12
9
10
11
12
6
6
Reading
2
3
6
16
12
16
9
13
12
12
6
9
Science
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
11
8
11
12
10
11
9

 

Fortunately, we’ve begun to regain some of our former glory.  On the recent Algebra EOC Assessment, Sarasota had the second highest score, which may be the beginning of getting back to where we were 11 years ago.

Unfortunately, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars of supplemental taxes that taxpayers have given you since 2002, Sarasota’s high school student’s FCAT scores are still determined more by Sarasota’s favorable demographics than the school district’s extra efforts.  As you know, demographic factors such as adult personal income, percentage of free and reduced lunch, adult educational levels, and student racial composition are good predictors of a district’s FCAT scores when considered together.  In fact, there is a good argument that our county and city commissioners are more responsible for Sarasota’s FCAT scores than the school board since the commissioners’ policies have had the most influence on our demographics.

If you were to chart these demographic factors for Florida’s school districts, most school districts’ FCAT scores would fall within a narrow band of where one would expect to find them based on their demographics.  However, when districts deviate from their demographic prediction, it’s possible that their school district is doing something different from the other districts.

Accordingly, there are three districts on the high school FCATs who have challenged Sarasota’s scores, but who shouldn’t be able to based on their demographics alone. These districts, Sumter, Gilchrist, and Wakulla, all have less attractive demographics for adult income and educational levels compared to Sarasota, and their free and reduced lunch percentages are either similar to or higher than Sarasota’s.  Even with these unfavorable demographic characteristics, and along with having less money per student, fewer teachers with advanced degrees, less teacher experience, and lower teacher pay than Sarasota, these lower-income districts have achieved some impressive FCAT scores. They are obviously doing something right given what they have to work with.

District
County Adult Data
2011 11th Grade Science FCAT Students
Teacher Data
2011 High School FCAT Scores
Personal Income
% College
% High School
% Free-Lunch
% White
Advanced Degrees
Median Salary
Science
Math
Reading
GILCHRIST
$29,682
15%
72%
48%
92%
33%
$42,829
322
339
324
SARASOTA
$52,331
34%
87%
38%
72%
67%
$55,264
317
339
322
WAKULLA
$28,711
22%
78%
35%
82%
37%
$37,042
317
338
322
SUMTER
$24,836
17%
77%
45%
71%
33%
$42,365
320
334
317
FLORIDA
$38,210
23%
76%
45%
47%
41%
$45,723
307
329
309

 

If you could show a similar pattern of consistently having higher test scores than our demographics alone would predict, you could make an argument that you are efficiently and effectively using your resources, and that giving you more resources could lead to even higher test scores. However, you can’t make the argument because our high school students don’t consistently outscore the districts with similar or more favorable demographics.

On the 2011 FCAT tests, there were six districts that outscored Sarasota’s combined test scores and who also have demographics at least as favorable as Sarasota’s.  (I’ve excluded Gilchrist, which is shown above.) The districts are St. Johns, Okaloosa, Brevard, Seminole, Martin, and Santa Rosa. Each district has its favorable and unfavorable demographic factors, but they would all be considered similar.

Some key characteristics for these districts are shown on the table below.

District
County Adult Data
2011 11th Grade Science FCAT Students
District Data
2011 High School FCAT Scores
Personal Income
% College & Prof. Degree
% Free-Lunch
% White
Teacher Advanced Degrees
Teacher Median Salary
All Gov. Revenue Per Student
Science
Math
Reading
ST. JOHNS
$ 48,640
40%
13%
84%
41%
$44,370
$        9,360
324
344
332
OKALOOSA
$ 41,024
33%
23%
74%
42%
$48,779
$        9,245
328
342
330
BREVARD
$ 37,284
33%
25%
67%
43%
$42,421
$        9,226
326
341
326
SEMINOLE
$ 40,133
40%
31%
60%
48%
$43,301
$        8,910
318
343
327
MARTIN
$ 51,723
33%
25%
71%
41%
$43,677
$      10,739
321
340
326
SANTA ROSA
$ 34,838
32%
28%
80%
37%
$42,729
$        8,791
317
338
331
SARASOTA
$ 52,331
34%
38%
72%
67%
$55,264
$      11,961
317
339
322

 

Although the demographics are similar, as the chart shows, the Sarasota’s median teacher pay is 25% higher than the average of the other districts, and Sarasota takes in 28% more tax revenue per student than the other districts on average, or about $2,500 per student.  And, yet, with more lower-paid teachers and far fewer financial resources, these other districts have typically outscored us.

To put a better perspective on the magnitude of this disparity in revenues between districts, Sarasota has about 40,000 students, so a difference of $2,500 per student amounts to $100,000,000.  That’s how much Sarasota could save each and every year if we matched the average budget of the other six districts above.  Or, said another way, that’s how much money we could save if our school district were as efficient and effective in delivering high-scoring high-school graduates as other top districts – like we used to be a decade ago.

The table below summarizes the calculation for the extra tax burden that Sarasota taxpayers must fund annually above what the other top districts on average must pay.

Calculation of Sarasota’s Extra Tax Burden Relative to Top-Scoring Districts
Sarasota’s Per-Student Tax Revenues
Avg. Tax Revenue of 6 Higher-Scoring Districts
Higher Tax Burden for Sarasota Per Student
Sarasota’s Student Enrollment
Sarasota’s Total Extra Tax Burden
$11,961
$9,379
$2,583
41,076
$106,078,770

 

So, the questions before us are whether or not Sarasota has the potential to be the top school district in Florida, and whether we need to collect an extra $100,000,000 in taxes to do it.  And I’ll answer the first question with an unequivocal “Yes!”  And I’ll answer the second question with a “Hopefully not”.

The first question is easy to answer because we right there at the cusp a decade ago.  Back then, before the extra taxes started gushing in, our high school kids were just shy of having the highest scores on the FCAT.  In fact, it was the promise of being the top school district that got the voters to rally behind the property-tax increase in 2002 after having voted down a similar referendum in 2000.  Our recent 2nd-place score on the Algebra EOCA shows that we still have the potential, and it’s not unusual in the lower grades for us to have top FCAT scores.  By effectively using the financial resources that the public has given you, you can overcome any demographic advantages that even a district like St. Johns enjoys, and our high school students can be the very best in the state.

However, the reason I don’t support a continuation of the extra $100,000,000 in taxes is because the need for it is purely remedial. There are only two reasons that the extra taxes are needed.  One possibility is that you have failed to develop a school district that is as efficient and effective the school districts that are currently at the top of the FCAT rankings.  The other possibility is that our city and county commissioners have failed to create an economy that provides enough jobs for high income, college educated workers.  After all, it’s their children who get the top scores.

But continuing the extra $100,000,000 in taxes drains our economy of productive resources and makes our community-development plans more difficult. Other districts that don’t have to pay it are gaining a competitive advantage over Sarasota.  Over a decade, the cumulative impact of draining this much money from our economy is huge.

In less than two years you will have another vote to extend the property tax for schools.  (It only provides about half of the extra $100,000,000 in taxes that you collect.)  I predict that you will fail unless you do two things.  First, you must develop a compensation system that rewards our many excellent teachers and eliminates the bad ones.  (Ever read RateMyTeachers.com?  We still have bad teachers.  My 7th grade son just got one of the worst ones at his school.  Why is Ms. Friedland still allowed to teach?)  Secondly, you must restore Sarasota’s high-school test scores to their rightful place at the top of all districts.  Unlike a decade ago when we were Number 2, with all your extra resources, we need to be Number 1.

Finally, with $100,000,000 more than the average of the other top districts, you don’t need more money.  You need a better plan.  Arne Duncan has said that schools need to do more with less.  I suggest you show your understanding of the new reality by voting down your proposed tax increase.

Best regards,

David Merrill
Arox Land Development, Inc
700 Bell Road
Sarasota, Fl  34240

Florida Makes High Gas Taxes Top 10 List

The American Petroleum Institute (API) collects motor fuel tax information for all 50 states and compiles a report and chart detailing changes and calculating a nationwide average. Florida is listed as number ten on the list of gasoline taxes at 53.4 cents per gallon (cpg). Florida ranks 16th for diesel motor fuel taxes at 54.9 cpg. To view the July 2012 API report click here.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline of 48.9 is down .6 cpg from the April 2012 API study. The federal tax on gasoline is 18.4 cpg. The average state gasoline excise tax is 21.0, up .1 cpg from April 2012. Other taxes (such as applicable sales taxes, gross receipts taxes, oil inspection fees, county and local taxes, underground storage tank fees and other miscellaneous environmental fees) were 9.5 cpg, down .7 cpg from April. Adding these taxes and fees to the state excise taxes results in a volume-weighted average state and local tax of 31.1 cpg.

The difference is Florida has higher “other taxes” on gasoline and diesel motor fuels.

According to its website API, “Supports the implementation of sensible taxing policy that considers broad based approaches over industry specific proposals, supports efficient approaches to tax collection and weighs the impact of taxes on the ability of U.S. based business to compete in the world market place. ” Specific tax proposals to provide cheap and reliable power and meet the energy needs of the United States are provided here. The API makes specific recommendations on the: Repeal Sec. 199 for Oil and Natural Gas Companies; Repeal Expensing of Intangible Drilling Costs; International Reform/Dual Capacity; Increase Geological and Geophysical Amortization Period; Raising the Oil Spill Tax; Reinstate Superfund Taxes; and Repeal EOR Credit and Marginal Well Credit. To read the detailed recommendations on these taxes click here.

The API website states, “It will take all forms of energy to promote our economy. That’s why API and our members support the development of renewable and alternative sources of energy. However, we it must be done as part of a comprehensive energy policy that encourages the development of all forms of domestic energy.”

The below map depicts January 2012 gasoline tax rates by state and was prepared by API:

Toll is a Four Letter Word for Tax

Central Florida currently has eight toll roads and one Interstate (I-4). The Interstate is currently the only freeway highway in Central Florida. The tolls were supposed to be a “temporary tax” to cover “the initial construction costs”. However in Central Florida, the Florida Turnpike is now 55 years old, the BeeLine Expressway is 45 years old and the East/West Expressway is 39 years old and the toll taxes are higher today than ever before. Additionally, in South Florida I-75 turns into a toll road, known as Alligator Alley, at Naples and goes to Ft. Lauderdale.

Sally Baptiste from AmericanStatesman.org notes, “Bottom line – toll roads have become a cash cow for the state of Florida and other states. In the case of the BeeLine Expressway, the initial construction 45 years ago was only 6 million dollars. Through my research I also learned that the Florida gas tax money is used to pay for ‘general state expenses’ and not the roads.”

“The politicians will never admit that highways are the LEAST expensive form of transportation and the number one choice of Americans. The politicians are perfectly content to ignore citizens in support their special interest groups. The politicians are perfectly content to ignore the transportation facts and waste our tax dollars in the interest of their personal agendas,” states Baptiste.

Baptiste provides the following points about toll roads in Florida and across America:

  • Toll taxes go AGAINST the public interest. They do not “promote the general welfare” of the people.
  • There are better ways to increase funds for roads with no tax increase or a very very minimal tax increase. However, this requires those in public office to work in the best interest of the people – not their special interests and in some cases their own financial interests (i.e. OOCEA Scott Batterson is one example).
  • Toll taxes are nothing more than a tax against the people.
  • Toll taxes have nothing to do with improving transportation. “Tolls create gridlock”.
  • Toll taxes are a cash cow for the State of Florida and the local municipalities.
  • Toll taxes are regressive. Lower income individuals are harmed the most and toll taxes represent a major expense to small businesses.
  • The “User Fee” explanation is inaccurate, but is easy way to lure taxpayers. It ignores all the taxes we already pay for use of the roads and everyone pays for “Toll Abuse”. Everyone’s cost of living goes up and disposable income is reduced which takes money out of the local economy. These are a few of the costs associated with “Toll Abuse”.
  • The Interstate Highway system was seen as one of the best economic investments made. It supports the economy, national security, law enforcement, emergency services and improved the quality of life for all Americans.
  • The privatization of public assets and infrastructure is part of Agenda 21. The goal is to limit mobility of the American people and make money for government in the process. This does not “promote the general welfare” – toll taxes go against the public interest.

Baptiste asks the typical Florida motorist: Would you rather pay $1200 a year in toll taxes PLUS $300 gas taxes or $400 in gas taxes with access to all roads?

To learn more visit StolenLanes.org.

PODCAST: AFP’s Abigail MacIver Talks about FIVE for Florida Plan

Abigail MacIver

Abigail MacIver, Director of Policy & External Affairs – Florida at Americans for Prosperity, joins Watchdog Wire Radio to explain the FIVE for Florida policy platform that offers real solutions for a better Florida.

The plan outlines five key issues that elected officials can address now to encourage free market principles and government accountability, in order to make Florida number one for families, businesses and entrepreneurs. A growing number of Florida legislators and candidates have signed up as endorsing the plan. The list may be found by clicking here.

Listen to Abigail MacIver explain each of the five policy initiatives proposed by AFP-Florida.

According to the FIVE for Florida website:

“Floridians want elected officials who will speak honestly with them about our problems and enact common sense solutions.

They want more transparency and accountability in their government and for government to stop making financial commitments that taxpayers cannot afford; they want to eliminate the cronyism in our political system and for politicians to stop picking winners and losers in the marketplace; they want to reduce over-burdensome regulations and remove needless or protectionist barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and job creators; and they want an education system that gives them options and a real choice for their children.

ONE: Reform Taxes & End Corporate Welfare

TWO: Don’t Make Financial Promises Taxpayers Can’t Keep

THREE: Be Steward of Good, Transparent Government

FOUR: Empower Kids With the Best Education

FIVE: Free Entreprenuers to Pursue the American Dream

Five for Florida outlines the key issues facing our state and proposes the real solutions that citizens and elected officials can support that will ensure Florida is the best state in the nation, both now and for our future generations.”

The Liar’s Tax

By Alan Caruba – The most singular aspect of Obamacare is the way Democrats, from the President on down, consistently lied about the fact that it was a tax. Interviewed by George Stephanopolos on ABC News, September 2009, Obama was asked if he rejected the criticism that it was a tax increase. “I absolutely reject that notion,” was his reply.

No need to quote the others. They all lied. It took the Supreme Court and, in particular, Chief Justice Roberts, to call Obamacare a tax in the process of eliminating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution as a justification for imposing this burden on Americans.

As CNBC’s Larry Kudlow was quick to note, “Twenty new or higher taxes across the board are bad for economic growth, bad for job hiring, bad for investors, and bad for families,” adding that when “you tax something more, you get less of it.”

Most Americans have been repeatedly told that Obamacare would ensure more care for more people, but the fact is, with or without health insurance, Americans receive health care, even if the hospital emergency room is their last resort, even if they are homeless, and even if they have no way to pay for it.

The multi-millionaire former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who told Americans that we would have to wait to know what was in Obamacare until after it was passed, reacted to the Supreme Court decision saying, “Call it what you will.” That is the equivalent of “Let them eat cake”, Marie Antoinette’s famed statement before the enraged citizens of France separated her head from her body.

Obamacare just became the single most important element of the November 6th national elections, followed by the economy. Both stink! Both are the direct result of Obama’s declared intention to “fundamentally transform America.” If he had even a schoolchild’s grasp of American history, he would know that Americans hate taxes. They declared their independence from England over the issue of taxation without representation.

What will emerge in the months between now and the elections is the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the implementation of Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, an increase of $820 billion over the initial estimate when it was first signed into law. A nation already $17 trillion in debt can hardly welcome such news, nor absorb such costs.

For most Americans, though, the realization that Obamacare contains twenty-one new taxes will likely tip the scales in November to the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, who has promised to begin the repeal of the law the first day he takes office. Yes, it is an irony that he introduced Romneycare in Massachusetts when he was Governor there, but that is not going to affect the outcome of the election.

Among the many new taxes buried in the 2000-plus pages of Obamacare, there’s a 2.3% excise tax on U.S. sales of medical devices that observers believe would prove to be a $20 billion blow to an industry that employs an estimated 400,000.

There’s a 3.6% surtax on investment income from capital gains and dividends on those earning more than $250,000.

Obamacare imposes a $50,000 excise tax on charitable hospitals that fail to meet new “community health assessment needs”, whatever they are.

There’s a $2.6 billion-a-year tax on drug companies. A 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons. An $87 billion hike in Medicare payroll taxes for employees, as well as the self-employed.

Between now and November voters are going to be reminded that Obama promised to fix the economy and then spent the first two years getting Obamacare through Congress. No Republican voted for it and, in 2010, voters replaced some sixty representatives and senators with Republicans.

Obama promised to create jobs. Instead he gave us a multi-billion “stimulus” that utterly failed. He promised to cut the deficit in half. And he promised that Americans could keep their current health insurance plans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as twenty million will lose theirs.

Lies! Lies! Lies!

In a thoughtful analysis of Obamacare, two senior fellows at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution were joined by the dean of the Columbia Business School who concluded that “In upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has allowed the President and Congress to put the country’s health policy on a path that will restrict individual choices, stifle innovation and sharply increase health-care costs.”

As that sinks in, the November elections will end the tyranny of Barack Obama and his minions in Congress. If you wonder what will replace it, just ask Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WIS) who has a plan in place to reform Medicare and Medicaid. If you haven’t heard much about it, you can thank the mainstream media and its slavish adoration of the President.

It is a liar’s tax. It is a liar’s penalty. It is a liar’s plan to further bankrupt the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

FL WON’T IMPLEMENT OPTIONAL PORTIONS OF OBAMACARE

By Dr. Rich Swier – Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida will join other states in opting out of Medicaid expansion and state-run exchanges.

If  the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not repealed before January 1, 2014, Florida will implement and comply with the required sections of the act.

After reviewing the impact of the Supreme Court ruling that gave Florida the flexibility to legally opt out of implementing one of the costliest provisions of the ACA, commonly known as “ObamaCare,” Governor Rick Scott has decided two major provisions in the law are inconsistent with his mission to grow jobs for Floridians, make sure there is adequate funding for education, and to keep the cost of living as low as possible.

The Affordable Care Act does not require states to take any action before the 2012 general election, and the full law does not take effect until January 1, 2014, provided it is not repealed before that date. Governor Scott, like other state governors, has made it clear that even though Florida will opt out of implementing two major, yet optional, provisions, should there be any legal obligation to implement ObamaCare, the state will follow the law.

Florida will opt out of spending approximately $1.9 billion more taxpayer dollars required to implement a massive entitlement expansion of the Medicaid program. A second provision in ACA gives Governor Scott the flexibility to opt out of building insurance “exchanges.”

“Floridians are interested in jobs and economic growth, a quality education for their children, and keeping the cost of living low,” Governor Scott said. “Neither of these major provisions in ObamaCare will achieve those goals, and since Florida is legally allowed to opt out, that’s the right decision for our citizens.”

Florida already has health care safety net programs for those with the greatest need, including assistance for families with incomes up to 133% of the poverty line, and Florida KidCare to ensure no child goes without health care in Florida.

But even though the federal government has promised to initially pay 100% of the increase in Medicaid payments for the first three years of ObamaCare, the burden increasingly shifts to Florida taxpayers in future years. Medicaid, which has been growing for years at three-and-a-half times as fast as Florida’s general revenue, will soon grow even faster under ObamaCare, and education funding will be adversely impaired if we do not control the growth in Medicaid spending.

Another provision in ACA gives Governor Scott the flexibility to opt out of building insurance “exchanges” that will result in higher insurance premium costs – more money out of the pockets of Florida’s families and businesses. The Congressional Budget Office has said that insurance premiums available on state exchanges will rise another 10-13% under the rules of ObamaCare. In states already operating insurance exchanges set up under similar rules, health care premiums are substantially more expensive.

“The real problem with health care is that costs continue to rise. That’s why I believe we need more choice for patients, more free-market competition, increased accountability for providers, and incentives for personal responsibility,” said Governor Scott. “These are the things we can do that will hold down health care costs and make it affordable for more people. Unfortunately, ObamaCare doesn’t do any of those things. In Florida, we are focused on becoming the number one place for businesses so that Floridians have more jobs.”

Bend Over Florida Your Federal Taxes going up $3,669

tax burden

Everyone has been talking about the impact of the Bush tax cuts expiring on January 1, 2013. The Heritage Foundation has a new website that shows the average individual tax increase by state. Floridians will experience an average increase in federal income taxes of $3,669. The interactive map of average tax increases by state may be found here.

Heritage’s Morning Bell notes President Obama told an Ohio crowd on June 14th, “I’ve said that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I believe it.” Indeed it is—because in a sluggish economy, American taxpayers are about to be clobbered by the largest tax increase in history.

According to Heritage:

“Starting January 1, 2013, Americans will face a $494 billion tax increase, the highest ever in one year. According to The Washington Post, congressional aides started calling it “Taxmageddon”—a chilling reference fit for an apocalyptic nightmare. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that it will be a ‘massive fiscal cliff’ for the economy.”

Heritage research shows that families will see an average tax increase of $4,138. Baby boomers’ average increase will be $4,223, and low-income taxpayers can expect a $1,207 increase. Millennials will be hit with an average hike of $1,099, and retirees $857. Check out the infographic to see where you fall.

Taxmageddon falls primarily on middle- and low-income Americans. That’s because, contrary to the President’s rhetoric about “the wealthiest Americans,” 60 percent of the Bush tax cuts went to middle- and low-income taxpayers. The expiration of the patch on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will cause these taxpayers to pay a tax that was never supposed to hit them, and the expiration of the payroll tax cut is a tax hike almost exclusively on middle- and low-income families.

This is only the direct impact on individual taxpayers. Americans at all income levels will feel the pain of Taxmageddon, because it will slow job creation and wage growth. At 8.2 percent unemployment, it’s the last thing the economy needs.

Where are these tax increases coming from? Under current law, tax policies in seven different categories will expire, and just five of the 18 new tax hikes from Obamacare will begin.

About a third of Taxmageddon’s increase comes from the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. These cuts are best known for reducing marginal income tax rates, but they also reduced the marriage penalty, increased the Child Tax Credit and the adoption credit, and increased tax breaks for education costs and dependent care costs.

What is the President doing to prevent this? Congress and President Obama have developed a penchant for waiting until the very last minute to act on pressing tax legislation. In 2010, they waited until late December to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts for two years. At the end of 2011, they waited again until late December to extend the expiring payroll tax holiday. This is a bad habit.

The threat of Taxmageddon is clouding jobs and family finances now. Businesses, families, and investors are uncertain about the future. They need to know as soon as possible that this massive tax increase will not hit them on New Year’s Day 2013.

But yesterday, Obama told the crowd he was their economic savior: “I have approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.” He also warned that Republicans want to raise taxes on the middle class, adding, “This is not spin. This is not my opinion. These are facts.”

The fact is that during his first three years in office, the Obama Administration unleashed 106 new major regulations that increased regulatory burdens by more than $46 billion annually, five times the amount imposed by the George W. Bush Administration during its first three years. Hundreds more costly new regulations are in the pipeline, many of which stem from the Dodd–Frank financial regulation and Obamacare. Conveniently, of course, many of Obamacare’s main provisions—including tax increases—don’t kick in until 2014.