January 01, 2016

Resolution on Modernizing and Reforming Florida’s Regressive Tax Structure

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans

Florida continues to confront a budget crisis. Significant reductions have been made in important programs over the past several years. Florida’s seniors, children and working people cannot have needed government services reduced further. Florida has the second most regressive structure among the 50 states, which means that Floridians who can least afford to support government pay s higher percentage of their income in taxes compared to the wealthy. Now is the time to close tax loopholes to make Florida’s tax system less regressive. For three decades there has been a huge transfer of wealth to a small percentage of wealthy people. In 1976, the top 1 percent of earners took 9 percent of total income. Three decades later, in 2007, the top 1 percent was taking 24 percent of total income. This transfer of wealth has undermined consumer spending which is necessary to create jobs. The well being of the middle class has been undermined in favor of increased wealth for a very few.

Be it resolved that the legislature can help to restore economic fairness by reforming our unbalanced tax structure. Those tax exemptions that are the most regressive should be repealed, corporate loopholes should be closed, and the intangibles tax on stocks should be reenacted. The elimination of taxes on accumulated wealth (the intangibles tax), eliminated during the Jeb Bush years, costs Florida more than $2 billion annually. Recommendations to modernize and reform Florida’s tax structure are contained in the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy Issue Brief, “Tax Modernization Choices for Florida,” published in February 2011.

Be it further resolved that the legislature should make comprehensive periodic reviews of sales tax exemptions except for those for general groceries, medically necessary health care items and services, and for other items which are a necessity to people ,and then determine if a sales tax should be imposed for personal, business, and financial services; media, entertainment, sporting events, construction, institutional services, transportation, and health services that are not medically necessary

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