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Under Charlie Crist Florida’s tax burden got worse and salaries dropped

On January 4, 2011, Governor Rick Scott stated at his inauguration, “If the conditions Florida offers aren’t the best, businesses go elsewhere. What does it take to create that favorable business climate? Florida has to offer the best chance for financial success. Not a guarantee – just the best chance. Three forces markedly reduce that chance for success—taxation…regulation…and litigation. Together those three form ‘The Axis of Unemployment’. Left unchecked they choke off productive activity.”

Governor Scott since his election has focused on bringing/expanding business and helping create jobs in the sunshine state with his “What’s Working Today” initiative. Scott has also worked to reduce the tax burden on residents via his “Its Your Money” campaign. The Governor recently announced his plans to cut taxes and fees for Florida families by $500 million in his proposed 2014 budget. Governor Scott took a tour across the state to listen to Floridians discuss taxes and fees they want to see reduced to help Florida families and job creators.

Governor Scott succeeded Governor Charlie Crist, a fellow Republican, who decided to run for the US Senate in 2010. Former Governor Crist was elected in November 2006, inaugurated January 2007 and served until January 2011. Crist is running for Governor against Governor Scott but this time as a Democrat.

Crist inherited a different economy than did Scott from his predecessor. Under former Governor Charlie Crist, Floridians saw their individual tax burden increase and average salary decrease.

The Tax Foundation has published an estimate of the combined state-local tax burden shouldered by the residents of each of the 50 states. The Tax Foundation website states, “The goal is to focus not on the tax collec­tors but on the taxpayers. That is, we answer the question: What percentage of their income are the residents of this state paying in state and local taxes?”

According to the Tax Foundation for Florida the answers are:

  • In 2006 Florida was ranked 42nd lowest by the Tax foundation with a state/local tax rate of 8.5%, per capita taxes paid to the state of $2,482, per capita taxes paid to other states of $1,288, a total state and local per capita taxes paid of $3,771 and average income of $44,340. (In 2006 the average national tax rate was 9.6% and an average national salary $41,526.)
  • In 2010 Florida was ranked 27th lowest with a state/local tax rate of 9.3%, per capita taxes paid to the state of $2,621, per capita taxes paid to other states of $1,107, a total state and local per capita taxes paid of $3,728 and average income of $40,053. (In 2006 the average national tax rate was 9.9% and an average national salary $41,146.)

NOTE: Click on the link to read the Tax Foundation Background Paper No. 65, “2010 Annual State-Local Tax Burden Rankings.”

The Huffington Post reports, “In a web video [below] entitled “Tell Me How I Can Help,” he referred to himself as “the people’s governor,” saying that only voters can “end this nonsense and get us back to common sense.”

HufPo notes, “A recent poll by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Crist ahead by 12 points over incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R). But the Orlando Sentinel cautioned that the survey was “laughably too early to mean jack.”

Will Crist run on his record as the former Governor, or run away from it?

You can bet Republicans relish the chance to remember all those things Crist didn’t do while governor. Here is Governor Scott’s first 2014 campaign video:

EDITORS NOTE: There are currently twenty-three active candidates running for Governor according to the Florida Division of Elections.