Florida’s tax burden slightly higher than other Southeastern states

Feb 23, 2011

The following article was published in The Florida Current on February 23, 2011:

Florida’s tax burden slightly higher than other Southeastern states

By Gary Fineout

Florida has been ranked 31st in a new national study that tries to measure the total tax burden placed on residents by state and local governments.

The higher the ranking assigned by the Tax Foundation, the higher the burden on taxpayers.

The annual study by the non-profit group based in Washington D.C.  found that New Jersey residents had the highest tax burden in the nation, while Alaska residents had the lowest tax burden. The study, however, noted that Alaska’s tax burden is kept low because of taxes on oil production that are passed on to consumers throughout the nation.

Floridians paid 9.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes, according to the 2009 data analyzed by the Tax Foundation. That’s lower than the national average of 9.8 percent but slightly higher than other Gulf Coast and Southeastern states that Florida may be competing against. But the study notes that slight fluctuations can affect a state’s ranking because about 20 states are lumped closely together.

Still the study notes that Florida’s tax burden rating was lower during most of the previous decade. In 2009 state lawmakers increased taxes and fees by $2 billion in order to help fill a shortfall in the state budget.

Gov. Rick Scott wants Florida lawmakers to cut property taxes and roll back some of the license fee hikes that were approved two years ago. Legislative leaders have been somewhat skeptical about being able to afford tax cuts because the state has a budget shortfall of nearly $4 billion. Still Senate President Mike Haridopolos has recently suggested that he hasn’t entirely ruled out tax cuts.

While Florida is in the middle of the pack when it comes to the tax burden for residents, the Tax Foundation last fall said that Florida had the fifth best tax climate in the nation for business.