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Politics / Issues

PolitiFact-Checking Governor Scott on Taxes


Florida Gov. Rick Scott is making the rounds on a tax cut tour to drum up support for his plans to cut taxes and fees in his next proposed budget by $500 million.

Scott says an expected revenue surplus next year is the taxpayers' money and that some of it should be given back to taxpayers!

The governor's most recent claims how that excess revenue came about and just how many taxes he's cut up to this point played to mixed reviews from the fact-checkers at Politifact Florida

PolitiFact's Katie Sanders said that Scott earned a mostly true rating for a statement he made about business taxes at the recent Americans for Prosperity Foundation Conference in Orlando

Scott said, "we cut business taxes so today 70 percent of our businesses don't pay a business tax."

"It's pretty accurate, but there's a little caveat that ought to considered, " explained Sanders. "As of now, if your income is up to $70,000, then you don't have to pay the tax.  We found that of the some 50,000 corporations in Florida, way more than half of them, as Scott said, are exempt from paying the tax. And that's about 76.8 percent. But voters should note that many of these business didn't have to pay the corporate tax, anyway, before Scott came into office. About half were so small they weren't subject to the tax."

On another claim Scott made at the American's For Prosperity event, PolitiFact was much less convinced.

Scott said, "We will have the highest general revenue in state history next year. Conservative pro-growth policies work in our state."

Mostly false, said PolitiFact.

Sanders said, "the number is pretty right if you don't account for inflation. State economists expect us to generate a record 27.3 billion dollars in general revenue for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. That is the highest amount if you just considered pure dollars, but it wouldn't our previous high in 2006 if you adjust for inflation."

As for the claim that "conservative pro-growth policies work in our state," Sanders said, "it's going to be a long time before we can discern exactly what kind of effect they've had on our economy."

The current uptick in revenue, PolitiFact determined, is being driven by an increase in population, tourism and grown in personal income.

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