Tallahassee

Florida business taxes to be cut, governor says

 

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is planning to cut business taxes further next year, announcing a new proposal Thursday to raise the exemption on corporate income taxes from $50,000 to $75,000.

Scott spoke to the Florida Association of Realtors and said his plan would help cut taxes on about 2,000 businesses. The total tax cut would amount to about $8 million, a fraction of the roughly $2 billion that the state collects in businesses taxes each year.

In his first year in office, Scott raised the exemption from $5,000 to $25,000, then followed up in 2012 by doubling the exemption to $50,000.

One of Scott’s campaign pledges was to eliminate the corporate income tax, which provides about 8 percent of the state’s annual general revenue.

“Today, I am proud to announce that in the upcoming legislative session, we will work to further eliminate the business tax for another 2,000 small businesses,” said Scott. “Everything we do must be tied to helping families get jobs, and eliminating this tax will ensure more small businesses can hire people.”

After Scott’s business tax cuts, more than half of businesses pay no corporate income tax. His new proposal is a minor step toward eliminating the entire $2 billion in corporate income taxes, a move that, if enacted to swiftly, could severely strain Florida’s budget as the state tries to emerge from the recession.

The proposal represents a stark contrast from Scott’s first proposed budget in 2011, when he asked lawmakers to approve more than $400 million in business tax cuts. Lawmakers ultimately passed a drastically scaled back tax cut of about $30 million.

Democrats, coming off a string of Election Day victories, immediately bashed Scott for the proposal.

“On election night, the people of Florida sent a clear message that they have rejected Gov. Rick Scott’s failed priorities and policies which have slashed funding for our public schools while giving hand outs to the corporate special interests who epitomize the broken politics of Tallahassee,” said Scott Arceneaux, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party.

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