Thursday, March 15, 2012

Clueless in Tallahassee

The reign of ignorance and bad policy continues in the Florida legislature, only halted by the temporary end of the current session. But business and the rich have plenty to be thankful for with “The total package of business tax relief approved during the 60-day legislative session that ended Friday totaled about $750 million this year, and more than $2.5 billion over the next three years.”

One of Governor Scott’s primary objectives is to eventually phase out the state corporate tax. Moving in that direction, the Legislature approved a $50,000 exemption to the tax, doubling last year's cut and 4,000 more businesses have been removed from the tax rolls.

All of these benefits to business are fueled by the lobbying efforts of large corporations but justified, once again, on the false premise that a low tax and deregulated business climate will produce millions of new jobs. The likely result, however, is the starving of the public sector, fewer services for citizens, and a continuation of Florida’s race to the bottom on state measures of quality of life. It is a good thing we have the state of Mississippi to prevent us from occupying the cellar, for now.

But the regressive regime in Tallahassee does not confine its damage exclusively to the fiscal side. As one well-placed   guardian of Florida’s natural environment put it at a recent meeting: “This is the most anti-environmental government I have ever seen.”

Eliminating environmental protections is another strategy designed to make Florida an attractive place to do business, though it may make it a very undesirable place to live or even visit.

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