The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation’s largest nonpartisan and voluntary membership organization, released its annual “Rich States Poor States” report comparing states and Florida ranks well in it, placing in the eighth spot.
Conservative economists Art Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams wrote the report which was released last week.
The report examines and ranks the states based on fiscal policies including spending, taxes and growth rates. Fifteen factors were included in the rankings–especially on income transfer programs. States that tax less and show fiscal restraint—particularly on productive activities such as working or investing—experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more.
While the report shows a forward-looking forecast based on the Sunshine State’s rank, it also reflects data on Florida’s cities and their taxes and revenues.
Florida led the states when it came to marginal personal income tax rate–which is no surprise since the Sunshine State does not have an income tax. It also led when it comes to right-to-work, and estate and inheritance taxes.
Florida also scored high on the number of tax and expenditure limits (TELs), which are self-imposed restrictions that state governments create to restrict the amount they can tax or spend.
For example, last year Florida voters passed Amendment 5 which requires a two-thirds vote in the Florida House and Senate — instead of a simple majority — to raise taxes. The amendment was placed on the ballot with the intent to make it more difficult for lawmakers to raise taxes and it helped Florida in ALEC’s rankings.
Still, there are areas Florida needs to improve including placing 13th when it comes to top marginal corporate income tax rate. Between state and local taxes, Florida lags in some much-needed improved areas. Florida ranked 25th when it came to property tax burden, 36th in sales tax burden, 29th in debt service as a share of tax revenue, 46th in state liability systems including tort litigation treatment and judicial impartiality and 30th in average workers compensation costs.
Since 2012, when it placed 13th, Florida has been on something of a roller coaster when it comes to the ALEC rankings. In 2013, Florida moved up to ninth place only to drop back to the teens, placing 16th in 2014 and 15th in 2015 before getting back to the top ten in 2016 when it placed eighth. In 2017 and 2018, Florida ranked sixth.
While the state’s economic outlook slipped to eight, one of the authors of the report told Florida Daily that’s nothing to be ashamed about.“Florida is till in the top ten and with Governors DeSantis’ economic proposals it should remain that way,” Williams told Florida Daily.
Contact Ed at Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com.