But in the larger picture, Florida is not that special. The slow-and-steady recovery story is the same for most of the country, experts told us. In fact, several other states and plenty run by Democrats are doing better.
Most states returned to or exceeded 2008 revenue levels by the 2012-13 fiscal year, said Todd Haggerty, policy analyst for the Fiscal Affairs Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The growth continued for 33 states in 2013-14, though at a more modest clip.
Not every state has released 2014-15 revenue expectations. Of those that have, 26 states and Washington, D.C., project revenue growth between 0.1 and 5 percent, Haggerty said. Thats where Florida falls, along with New York and Texas.
Thats behind a group of 11 states Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont that expect growth between 5 and 10 percent.
The NCSL does not examine in-depth why revenue is growing in each state, Haggerty said, though he noted that some states (California) increased tax rates while others benefited from an energy boom (North Dakota).
No one can fault Scott for talking up the state successes in attracting tourism and business. But could he bring about record-setting tax collections through a toolbox of tax cuts and shrinking government? Or, as he put it, conservative pro-growth policies? Even economists on the conservative side are skeptical.
We think, certainly, hes doing the right things from an economic standpoint, said Kurt Wenner, vice president of tax research at Florida TaxWatch. But its certainly hard to dial a direct relationship between how much revenue comes from that.
Stone of the Tax Foundation pointed to a few examples of tax breaks passed under Scott that are straight-up revenue losses, such as the four-day sales-tax holidays and an assortment of tax credits.
Other longer-lasting, pro-business cuts are more likely to have economic benefits in the future, he said, such as temporarily removing a sales tax on machinery and equipment for manufacturers, removing businesses from the corporate income-tax roll, and reducing unemployment compensation taxes. (The temporary tax cut for manufacturers wont even take effect until 2014.)
Im skeptical that these changes drove a big enough economic recovery in revenue changes, Stone said.
Scott said that Florida will have the highest general revenue in state history next year. Conservative pro-growth policies work in our state.
Scotts statistic is wrong if you account for inflation. But the bigger issue is that Scott overreaches by connecting the revenue resurgence with conservative policies. The trajectory is not unique to Florida, or conservatives.
Theres an element of truth to this statement but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate this claim Mostly False.