Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Florida's Corporate Welfare

Corporate welfare. It's the concept of giving away such massive taxbreaks to corporations that they pay little to nothing in taxes.

The cheerleaders behind this policy claim that it gives corporations the incentives to move here and employ people, who will in turn enrich the state's coffers through property taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes. (Thankfully Florida hasn't stooped so low as to have a state income tax. Yet.) Everybody wins. Right?

Well... maybe.

As usual with the government, nothing seems to come in moderation. As of 2003, according to BlogWood, "98 percent of the estimated 1.5-million businesses in Florida paid nothing. And many of those that did pay found ways to reduce their tax bills." Thanks to Jeb Bush, of course. And we can be certain that this fact remains unchanged. We would have heard of any changes long ago.

So if the majority of businesses (especially big businesses with big coffers) don't pony up (but continue to make obscene profits) who gets to foot the bills? And let's not forget that the bills are mounting. Florida's class-size amendment is going to be costly and Jeb Bush is finally threatening a state income tax.

Corporate taxes have dropped dramatically since 1962, yet government expenditures have drastically increased.

And as Bev Kelly points out in a letter to the editor today, "Some $310-million of our money is pledged to Burnham Institute, which supposedly will provide a piddly 300 jobs. So we, the citizens of Florida, are going to pay the company more than $1-million dollars for each job. Sound worth it, folks? And this is just one of many "deals" that's going on."

In April 2005, the St. Pete Times did a special investigative report which concluded in a brilliant and concise analysis that "Florida hands out millions in public money to private business to create jobs, but the value of what it gets in return is questionable."

So... isn't it time to re-think corporate welfare?


daveawayfromhome said...

It's way past time to rethink corporate welfare. I think the best way to tell if a tax deal sounds fishy is if they have to sell it using the same rational as they would to sell you on building a stadium.

Or maybe I could amend that staement further: If they have to sell it to you, then you probably dont need it.

The other day I read some business dude passing on a piece of wisdom he'd been taught: In any deal, look for the sucker. If you dont see one, then it's probably you.

R2K said...

Florida is the place to go for a corporation. Weakest tax and litigation in the country.

The Lazy Iguana said...

It is time to do away with corporate welfare. I pay taxes, so why not some company?

Jeb never wanted us to vote for the class size amendment in the first place. He tried to attach the bullet train to the class size deal in an effort to kill it. Someone who was paying attention seperated the train from the funding for the class size limits, and the train was voted down (again).

So now he is threatening a state income tax? Let me guess - he is saying that the state income tax will not be needed if voters give up the class limits and instead adopt his "voucher school choice" program (just a fancy way to divert public money to non-accredidated private church run schools who will teach that dinosaur bones are not more than 7,000 years old).

I think it is funny actually. The same people who do not want to provide food stamps to the poor because "the poor are lazy and need to go get a job" favor giving themselvs millions upon millions in breaks. And then they use those millions to build factories in India so that they can ship jobs there.

But really - you need to read my post for today. It is kind of about the same thing. THIS is capitalism! Our system is not about helping others who do not have anything, it is about helping the people on top to have more and more.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy Iguana, oh so very true. It's horribly and painfully sad for someone (me) whose undergrad degree was in Management. I hate to admit that most of what I was taught was propaganda, because I really believed in it at one time until time and experience showed me differently. :0(

Alex, Excellent point! In addition to everything else, Florida is a Right to Work state, which really means a Right to Fire for Any Reason state.

Daveawayfromhome, If they have to sell it to you, then you probably dont need it.
Oh bravo!!! Very true indeed.

Jamie Dawn said...

I am surprised here AR that the food tax is so high.
Whenever we go out to eat, I am always a bit stunned.

Sounds like the big companies need to carry their fair share of the burden. If by giving them these huge tax breaks, the state of Florida isn't seeing benefits, then it's time to rethink things there.

jsull said...

Amen Dave.
Any entitlement I am against. If the conpany wants to reap the benefits of Florida they should surely pay their fair share. I don't and never have understood it. They make the folks with little pay and those with alot they let off.

Now if everybody’s kickin’ in their fair share,
I might back up and say yes,
But the big man plays
While the little man pays
So to hell with the IRS
Johnny Paycheck

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Spendng has increased by more than ever.

I too have a post today about how we are in the biggest deficit ever in the history of our nation.

Hope you are well, Saur. I am so greatful to you for having created my new icon, which I adore. Thank you so very much.

Grant said...

This reminds me of the policies created under Jeb's brother wherein American companies are getting huge tax breaks to invest in their overseas operations. Bottom line there - they are "investing" by sending more jobs overseas and our tax dollars are paying them to do it. Somebody really didn't think that one through.

EmmaSometimes said...

YES YES!! Very much so.

I finally caught up, I was still 6 posts back having my own party..hehe.

Senor Caiman said...


I think I'm a little ole fashioned here, I don't even get out of my chair unless there is a bribe or incentive involved.

Excellent post.

daveawayfromhome said...

Oh, Grant, I can assure you, someone thought it through.

Miss Cellania said...

Kentucky has this problem all the time. The state gives up millions in exchange for a few dozen minimum wage jobs when a new employer moves in. After ten years or so, the tax breaks expire as planned, and the company immediately moves out, probably on their way to Florida.

Meanwhile, Kentucky does have an income tax. It is the WORST state for taxing poor people. You might be too poor to pay any federal income tax, but you'll have to come up with plenty for state income tax. (been there)

Anonymous said...

This is trickle-down economics, right? I don't know much, but it sounds Reaganesque to me...

KristieD said...

i have always felt that the biggest corporations should be taxed the most instead of taxing the rest of us.

It is quite sickening how big business get such big breaks and the public gets virtually nothing.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Let them eat cake.

Famous last words for some rich French lady.

Debbie said...

Long overdue for re-thinking. Them that have lots want to keep it and do, those who have little are always forced to give more away. It has never seemed fair that the big businesses all pay so little. And of course having a Bush can't be comfy. I left before he showed up!