A new report released by the LeRoy Collins Institute on Thursday concludes that Florida is falling behind not only the rest of the country but also in the South in key areas from teacher salaries to high-wage jobs to adequate roads.
“The news is grim,” says the report, “Tougher Choices: Shaping Florida’s Future.”
It was written by two academics at the University of Florida, Drs. David Denslow and James Dewey, along with UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
“In a lot of ways,” Dewey said, “the state of Florida is really near the bottom of the barrel.”
The report “examines the past and predicts a future in state revenues, demographics, the Florida Retirement System, K-12 education, higher education and infrastructure (particularly transportation).” Among the findings:
The researchers said one way to change the direction of the state would be to increase the sales tax to 7 percent.
“It would be better if we had a broader tax base, but we don’t,” Dewey said.
As the report notes at the outset, the Collins Institute seeks to honor the legacy of Collins, a “courageous and visionary governor” and a Democrat who served from 1955 to 1961.
The new report is an updated version of the institute’s “Tough Choices” report published in 2005.