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The citizens of Florida have been hit hard by the current recession. Many people have lost jobs as business struggle to make ends meet. The Florida legislature should not compound the problem by backing a broad-based tax increase at a time when our economy is sluggish.
Senator John McKay has made a proposal that would do just that - raise taxes! Worse, it seeks to shift the tax burden from tourists to the engine of Florida's economic growth : private enterprise.
The McKay proposal addresses the wrong problem. The current sales tax structure has provided enough revenue for state government spending to increase in real terms on a per capita basis. In other words, revenues have kept up with Florida's population growth. But, some politicians are having difficulty keeping tax revenue growth in balance with their desire to increase government spending. If the state government is facing a fiscal problem, the solution lies with limiting the growth in government spending, not in finding new ways to tax Floridians.
The best way to expand Florida's revenue base is to grow the economy, create more jobs and give consumers more purchasing power. A tax increase on a myriad of services and industries would have the opposite effect. Additionally, the McKay proposal would add complexity to the current system and increase the cost of compliance, a dead weight loss for Florida's economy. That is not tax reform and should not be characterized as such.
Florida Citizens for a Sound Economy also opposes the process proposed by supporters of the McKay proposal are attempting to raise taxes without the full support of the legislature and the governor. Circumventing the normal legislative process because the votes aren't there is a bad reason to attempt to make this a constitutional ballot issue.
Governor Jeb Bush has proposed a better solution - limit the growth of government. The Governor's new budget limits the growth of spending to 1 percent, making government share the burden of the current recession with the citizens of Florida.
Florida Citizens for a Sound Economy stands for less government, lower taxes and more economic freedom. The McKay proposal fails all three tests and therefore should be defeated.