Florida Corporate Tax Breaks in Limbo

Governor Rick Scott continues to push for corporate tax breaks as lawmakers struggle to fund schools, the medically needy, prisons and everything else. The tax breaks are on life support, as lawmakers failed to hear legislation Monday that could have moved the tax cuts through a committee.

Schools are facing a seven percent cut. The medically needy are out of the Senate budget, and Medicaid patients could see a one billion dollar cut. With this backdrop, Governor Rick Scott continues to say in his weekly radio address, “I will not compromise,” when it comes to corporate tax breaks.

Karen Woodall of the Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy says those breaks would do little to create jobs. “So, there’s a very small percentage of corporations in this state that are for-profit corporations that are actually paying any income tax at all because of the loopholes.”

Former U.S. Senator and two-term Governor Bob Graham says the four billion a year tax breaks for the wealthy over the last decade have hurt schools and produced few, if any, jobs.

A version of the governor’s corporate tax cutting plan was up before a Senate committee Monday morning. The committee temporarily passed it without taking any action.

But the tax cuts can be revived with a two-thirds vote to waive the rules. Scott supporter Representative Rich Glorioso of Plant City says a plan under discussion could lead to compromise. “I would hope that we would have something to give the governor, that we can show a framework of how we can do these tax cuts as the economy gets better.”

And passing a plan for future tax cuts could let the Governor save face and claim victory, all without hurting schools or anyone else more than they are already being hurt this year.

Scott’s plan eliminate the corporate income tax comes in two waves. Scott wants to get rid or close to half of the 5.5 percent tax this year, and the rest next year.

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