A powerful Florida Republican lawmaker is voicing doubts about Governor Rick Scott’s proposal to permanently cut $1 billion in taxes.
Senate Budget Chief Tom Lee says Scott’s cuts may be unsustainable — and not necessary considering how much the economy has already improved.
But, Scott is sticking to his guns, saying it’s exactly the kind of policy that put the state on the road to recovery.
In a Senate Committee this week, the Appropriations Chair Tom Lee said he has doubts about Scott’s plan to allocate $250 million to a new Enterprise Fund for economic development projects — those are tax breaks intended to lure companies to the state.
Lee says such incentives lose effectiveness over time, considering the state seems to already be recovering without them.
But Scott disagrees.
“We’re getting a great return for the taxpayers of this state,” Scott says. “We’ve had the opportunity to recruit a lot of manufacturing companies, high-tech companies, corporate offices [and] regional offices, but we’ve got to be in the game.”
Still, Lee worries the state isn't recovering fast enough to sustain the enterprise fund AND $1 billion in tax cuts.
To that, Scott says the economy has seen success because of these policies.
“We’ve cut taxes 50 times in five years and what’s happened? Our revenues are growing,” Scott says “Our general revenue is growing. Our trust fund revenues are growing in the state. This year our general revenues grew by $1.3 billion, that’s after cutting $427 million last year.”
But that revenue figure doesn't account for an increase in costs, and state economists say the expected surplus is far less than a billion dollars.