I am proud to say that my colleagues and I were successful in forcing the governor to call a special session to deal with soaring property insurance rates in Florida. Unfortunately, it appears Governor DeSantis’ legislative leaders and insurance lobbyists drafted the bills behind closed doors with no regard for consumers. The policies enacted do nothing to stop the skyrocketing rates that Floridians are facing. The Democrats’ amendments to freeze rates were voted down by my fellow Republicans.
My question is, are my fellow Republicans finally ready to hold greedy corporations to account, or are we just witnessing political theater? What is clear is that my colleagues opposite are determined to censor companies that dare to expose their extreme culture warfare agenda and, perhaps more importantly, to shut down their wallets.
For example, this year the Legislature passed what I call the “Stop Honest History Teaching Act” (HB 7) which mandates how employers conduct training on inequality. racial and sexual. Or, as another example, when Disney decided to call out the extremist Don’t Say Gay Bill (HB 1557) and halted campaign contributions, DeSantis led a crusade to punish them, which could cost people dearly. Orange County ratepayers.
I said it in the House, and I’ll say it again here: If DeSantis and his allies really wanted to hold corporations like Disney accountable, they would pass legislation to close corporate tax loopholes and fix the tax code. on Florida’s shattered corporate income. . I tabled an amendment to the tax package to do just that. My Republican colleagues voted against and killed this amendment. That’s why I find it hard to believe that the Governor’s rhetoric on corporate accountability goes beyond crocodile tears or that my colleagues are willing to reform the broken corporate income tax code of Florida.
Why do we need to update Florida’s corporate income tax code? Well, today, 75% of our state’s flex-spending dollars come from sales taxes, which disproportionately burden low-wealth Floridians, and especially black and Latino Floridians. We have one of the most inverted tax codes in the entire country, in which working-class people disproportionately bear the tax burden. We need a system that takes some of the pressure off ordinary Floridians and ensures that everyone, including wealthy corporations, pays what they owe.
With that in mind, in March I submitted a request to the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) to learn more about who pays taxes in Florida and identify policy solutions. In its response, the state revealed that less than 1% of Florida businesses pay corporation tax. More importantly, according to the nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute (FPI), the state’s response also shows that one in five corporations earning more than $250 million pays no corporate income tax. Although there are several explanations for why 20% of greedy companies pay nothing, the fact that Florida does not require companies to report their total national profits, including all their subsidiaries, allows companies multistate to shift profits and avoid paying taxes in the Sunshine State and keeps Floridians in the dark.
If we really want to hold corporate greed accountable, we don’t need to resort to political theater or gimmicks. As I have proposed in the past, one solution that policymakers could adopt is combined reporting, which, as the REIT explains, would save approximately $500 million in general revenue per year that is currently being lost. for the benefit of businesses and tax systems.
I’ll keep pushing, but I’m afraid real action from DeSantis is unlikely. As the Herald-Tribune reported, a huge amount of wealth is lined up behind DeSantis’ re-election bid, with at least 42 billionaires and billionaire family members worth a combined $275 billion contributing to his country. Florida For All’s Corporate Greed Report reveals the millions of corporate contributions to the governor and his allies, as well as the many corporate-backed tax bills and giveaways. But I will continue to invite my fellow Republicans and the Governor to join me and my fellow Democrats in putting the needs of working people ahead of those of their mega-donors.
State Representative Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville, represents District 14 in the Florida House of Representatives.