Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore

Continuing Tax Relief, Florida Governor Scott Returns to “Best of the Best”

Florida Governor Rick Scott is once again one of five U.S. governors with economic policy proposals qualifying as “Best of the Best” based on his 2018 State of the State address. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently released the fourth annual State of the States report analyzing each of these addresses, specifically from an economic policy perspective. The best addresses featured proposals proven to enhance economic competitiveness and growth such as low taxes, priority-based budgeting, and a more efficient state government. Gov. Scott’s desire to continue the state’s trailblazing on pro-growth economic policies and to safeguard those reforms into the future deserves special recognition.

This year, Gov. Scott once again called for more pro-growth tax relief, lower fees, and less government regulation. Reflecting on the continued success of the state’s prior tax reductions, he highlighted that over the past seven years in the state, the private sector added nearly 1.5 million jobs, GDP grew 26 percent, state debt fell by $9 billion, and the unemployment rate dropped from over 10 percent to a 10 year low of 3.6 percent. According to the governor, Florida’s incredible economic rebound is a direct result of the nearly 80 times lawmakers chose to cut taxes to the tune of $7.5 billion over his tenure.

The governor’s most important proposal, however, was a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds majority in the legislature to raise taxes. Gov. Scott argued a stronger than currently existing limitation on the growth of government will “force leaders to contemplate living within their means rather than taking the easy way out and just sticking it to the public by raising taxes on families and job creators.”  Thanks to legislation passed following his address, this fall Floridians will vote on this proposed constitutional amendment safeguarding the pro-growth reforms of the past seven years.

The strong commitment to these reforms is what has rocketed The Sunshine State from 16thto 6thin economic outlook in Rich States, Poor States. While some governors plot to spend the higher tax revenues generated by federal tax reform and economic growth Gov. Rick Scott offers an alternative. He continued to be an advocate for the competitive tax rates and free-market fiscal policies making Florida one of the most desirable places to live and work.