PolitiFact: Does Florida have the second-lowest per capita tax burden in the country?

Last Updated: Thursday, April 27, 2017, 4:26 PM EDT

It's one of Governor Rick Scott's favorite topics for discussion... lower taxes.  At a recent roundtable discussion, Scott noted that Florida was a desirable location for relocation because of tax rates.

Governor Scott said this:

"We’ve cut taxes 55 times. Our job growth rate is showing almost double the rest of the country. Our labor force is growing four times the rest of our county, and we have the second-lowest tax burden, per capita, state taxes in the country."

Our partners at PolitiFact Florida took a look at Scott's claim about the per capita tax burden in Florida.  PolitiFact reporter Allison Graves says that the governor's claim rates as MOSTLY TRUE on the Truth-O-Meter.  Graves says that, for the most part, the stats back him up.

"We took a look at a lot of credible analysis and vetted it," said Graves.  "We found that Florida's per capita state taxes are near the bottom of the pack in the country.  Governor Scott cited The Tax Foundation, and they had previously found that Florida ranks 40th out of 50 states for per capita state taxes."

Graves says, though, that the taxes cited can be misinterpreted.  "Per capita is very specific metric to use," said Graves.  "It includes millions of people who pay very little, or even nothing, in taxes.  For example, a child using their allowance to go buy a toy at the store will pay taxes on that toy, but wouldn't be a taxpayer in the sense that they don't have a job and have taxes taken out of a paycheck."

Graves notes that, while state per capita taxes in Florida are low, it doesn't mean that everybody has low taxes.  Because of that, Governor Scott's claim is rated MOSTLY TRUE on the Truth-O-Meter.

 

SOURCES: Second-lowest per capita taxes in the country?

  • PolitiFact ruling
  • Interview, Richard Auxier, a research associate in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, April 12, 2017.
  • Interview, Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch vice president of research, April 12, 2017
  • Email exchange, Kerri Wyland, Communication director for Gov. Rick Scott, April 11
  • Tax Foundation, "Facts and Figures: How does your state compare?" 2017
  • Florida Tax Watch, "2017 How Florida Compares - Taxes."
  • Kaiser Family Foundation, State Government Tax Collections per Capita, accessed April 12, 2017
  • PolitiFact Florida, "Rick Scott: Average Floridian pays $1,800 in state taxes, lowest in country," March 3, 2015.
  • Florida Department of Revenue, State and Local Tax Receipts, accessed April, 12, 2017
  • U.S. Census Bureau, State Government Tax Collections, accessed April 12, 2017
  • U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates 2015, accessed April 12, 2017