A waste of good trees
From the Tampa Tribune-
TALLAHASSEE - They are dirty words in Florida politics when you string them together: "income" and "tax."A state income tax would require a state referendum. One that would have to get 60% of Florida voters to approve. How likley is that to happen?
Lawmakers return to the state capital Tuesday for a special legislative session to try to reverse a trend of soaring local property tax bills. In casting about for a solution to a crisis that has brought busloads of demonstrators to Tallahassee and saw lawmakers battle to a draw in the regular spring session, Florida continues to treat the personal income tax as heresy, able to poison the political career of anyone suggesting it.
But tax Floridians' income? Since voters wrote a ban on such a practice into the state Constitution in 1924, that idea hasn't had serious consideration - despite the fact that it could lower the overall tax bill of low- to middle-income taxpayers.
Florida is one of just seven states without an income tax. To many economists, it is a valid strategy to balance a state's revenue collections - another leg of the solid footstool representing the blend of property tax, sales tax and income tax.
"It's really the most important foundation and component of a rational tax structure, and we're lacking it completely," said Bruce Nissen, director of research at the Center for Labor Research and Studies at Florida International University.
Don't expect that situation to change. Although Gov. Charlie Crist has said he hasn't "poured water" on any proposals, and House Speaker Marco Rubio said any and all ideas are on the table, the income tax never made it to the special session menu.
Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which frequently takes Florida's pulse, said the issue is such a nonstarter his firm hasn't polled on it in decades - but he recalls opposition of more than 80 percent. In 1990, 79 percent of voters told Mason-Dixon they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported a 5 percent state income tax for education.A state income tax is a total non-starter with voters. So why does the Tampa Tribune waste 2080 words and how an unknown amount of newsprint writing about an issue that won't ever happen? Tribune reporter Jerome Stockfisch even details how an income tax could work. I guess the Tribune and its reporters need something to do besides act like child molestors.
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