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Florida TaxWatch Compares the Sunshine State to the Other 49 on Taxes

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This week, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released “How Florida Compares: Taxes 2022,” a comprehensive analysis of state and local tax rates, tax collections, and other government revenues for all 50 states, in addition to historical information for Florida.

The annual report is part of the taxpayer research institute’s larger “How Florida Compares” series, providing balanced, nonpartisan information intended to help Floridians better understand where their state ranks in terms of taxes when compared to the 49 other states and the national average.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro weighed in on the findings.

“The annual ‘How Florida Compares: Taxes 2022’ report ranks Florida’s state and local taxes against those levied around the nation. Florida TaxWatch is happy to report that Florida continues to be a low tax state, one of only eight states with no personal income tax, with an extremely low per capita state taxation, even if local tax burdens are somewhat higher than the norm,” he said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s state and local government revenue collections fared better than the average state, largely because Florida relies more heavily on transaction taxes than most states. Transaction taxes (general and selective sales taxes) account for 78.1 percent of all Florida’s state tax collections, compared to the national average of 43.5 percent. This helps explain, in part, why total taxes paid in Florida grew faster than the nation as a whole in fiscal year 2019-20. Being open for business meant increased consumer spending and economic growth.

“The report highlights our economic expansion, but it also flags items to watch going forward. Florida’s state-level tax and revenue burdens are low compared to the other states, but local tax burdens are much higher, as voters continue to approve proposed tax increases. While the average state and local government per capita burden for the nation fell by 1.0 percent in fiscal year 2019-2020, Florida’s increased by 3.0 percent. However, Florida’s total tax burden ranks 46th, meaning we still had the 5th lowest state and local tax burden in the country in fiscal year 2020-21,” Calabro continued.

“Florida also relies more heavily on local revenue to fund government than any other state. Local governments account for 56.3 percent of Florida’s total state and local revenue, 22.1 percent above the national average. Florida’s ‘Per Capita Local Own Source Revenue’ and ‘Per Capita Local Tax Collections’ rank 11th and 23rd, respectively, rising four and five spots this past year. Looking ahead, with increasing property values and significant voter-approved tax hikes at the local level, we expect next year’s edition of ‘How Florida Compares: Taxes 2023’ to show a higher tax burden ranking due to local tax increases,” he added.

“As the eyes and ears of Florida’s taxpayers for more than four decades now, Florida TaxWatch is proud to continue providing this valuable resource to elected officials, policymakers, and especially the Floridians that continue to invest in this great state. As their watchdog, we offer this detailed snapshot of local and state government costs and an easy, convenient way to compare it with taxes levied across the nation,” Calabro said in conclusion.

The following are some key facts and findings outlined in FTW’s report:

Florida continues to be a relatively low tax state, with extremely low per capita state taxation but considerably higher local taxes. In total, taxes paid by Floridians grew faster than the nation as a whole in fiscal year 2019-20.

Florida’s property tax burden increased by $82 per person in fiscal year 2019-20, an increase of 5.6 percent. Florida’s per capita property tax ranking reached 12th in fiscal year 2008-09, but then the housing bubble burst and property tax collections suffered. Florida’s ranking has remained stable the last few years and now stands at 24th.

Without a personal income tax, Florida relies more heavily on transaction taxes than most states. Transaction taxes (general and selective sales taxes) account for 78.1 percent of all Florida’s state tax collections, compared to the national average of 43.5 percent.

Florida’s average “State & Local Cell Phone Tax Rate” of 15 percent is the 12th highest in the nation, higher than both the U.S. average of 13.2 percent and Florida’s average state and local general sales tax rate of 7.0 percent.

A sizzling housing market in 2021 increased Florida documentary stamp and intangibles tax by 45.4 percent. This is one of the state’s major tax sources, and Florida collects more than four times the per capita U.S. average. Floridians’ burden stands at $224 per capita, the nation’s third largest.

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  • Florida Daily

    Florida Daily offers news, insights and analysis as we cover the most important issues in the state, from education, to business and politics.

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