Gov. Rick Scott is on a “listening tour” to gather input about potential tax cuts he may propose when the Legislature reconvenes next March. But the list of cuts he has identified during tour stops so far would disproportionately come from local government revenues, not the state, and force further belt-tightening for cities and counties still reeling from falling property tax revenues and staff cuts. Worse, the biggest headwinds facing Floridians are a stubborn jobless rate and persistent wage stagnation, not taxes. Tax cuts being pondered won’t produce either jobs or higher wages or will simply fatten the bottom lines of existing businesses, most of them out of state.
Three of the taxes getting the most attention are property taxes, sales taxes and franchise fees. Florida’s constitution prohibits the state from levying property taxes, so any cuts would have to be Tallahassee-mandated cuts foisted on strapped localities. The Legislature has already handcuffed local governments with millage rate restrictions and further muddied an already overly complex tax system with its inscrutable roll-back rates.
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