Do Tax Cuts Work? Former Sen. Bob Graham Shows That in Florida They Didn’t

art-assault-florida1“We’re broke” is the meme Republicans and tea baggers cite when they claim tight budgets force us to reshape social policies, such as collective bargaining agreements, or to siphon public funds and redirect resources to corporations only too happy to pocket the largesse.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, with full support of the Republican legislature, is using “we’re broke” to justify everything from deregulating nail salons to defunding services that save taxpayers money, like group homes for the developmentally disabled.

To Rick Scott and the Republicans, government is a weapon best used to punish enemies and intimidate friends. The only goal is to protect and shore up their interests.

Former Democratic Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham knows whether the emperor has clothes. He shows that tax cuts, rather than improving the business climate, are moving Florida away from its goals.

Before you read further, please note that Florida has no state income tax for its residents, and that Jeb Bush was governor from 1999 to 2007, followed by Republican Charlie Crist, and now Republican/Tea Bagger Rick Scott. Republicans have held a majority of both chambers of the Florida legislature since 1994.

…Since 1999 there has been a stream of tax reductions to make the state more attractive for investment. Absent these cuts, state revenue in 2011 would be $4 billion greater. This would have avoided the need for the deep cuts now being considered by the Legislature.

The stunning truth is that on virtually all fronts — the Legislature, the executive budget office, academics — there has been a failure to subject these cuts to the basic question: Did they work?


Boos for Bozo: Rick Scott Strikes Out with Ceremonial Pitch

A movement was spawned last month, after boos erupted for Florida Gov. Rick Scott at a Florida spring training camp game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. Floridians who still haven’t totally given up on the idea of a recall election found a shorter-term strategy: boo at the governor every chance we get.

And so a Facebook page was born. “Boo Rick Scott on Opening Day (even if you’re not going to the game)” had 1,211 likes before Scott took the field to throw the opening pitch at the first regular season game for the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

Scott was throwing the ball a day after announcing devastating cuts to services to the developmentally disabled that will force many out of group homes and into much more expensive — and depressing — nursing homes. It also came the same week that consumer advocates and industry experts called for an investigation into Scott’s dismissal of nursing home ombudsman Brian Lee, widely seen as a payback to the nursing home industry for its deep pockets in support of his campaign.