It’s no secret that due to the pandemic, Florida is suffering an unprecedented economic downturn, with state budget cuts looming ahead. Yet even in these dark times, it’s important to remember that every adversity carries with it the seed of an equal or even greater benefit. One action seed for the future is to shine a spotlight on the inequitable distribution of Florida’s sales tax and fix it.
Of the 6-cent statewide sales tax, the state of Florida retains 5½ cents collected from all 67 counties to spend as the legislature sees fit. The counties receive a measly half-cent. Five counties — Miami-Dade, Orange, Broward, Palm Beach, and Hillsborough — make up nearly half of the current annual statewide collection of $22 billion, which supports 78 percent of the state’s entire general-revenue budget.
Now the pandemic has revealed the soft underbelly of the state budget. The significance of the loss of sales tax revenues has always shown in the state budget when Florida’s economy dips. The tremendous coronavirus impact in the lost revenue from the five counties that generally produce the most dollars may approach twice as much as the federal $4.6 billion CARES emergency stimulus to the state.
For more information: Orlando SentinelOrlando sentinel
By JOANIE SCHIRM
May 11, 2020