In the wake of the recent catastrophic storms, like hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it is essential we continue to look at all avenues to bolster Florida’s business and economic opportunities that create a robust private market that includes fair and adequate catastrophic insurance coverage. While safety is a No. 1 priority, we must continue to nurture a private marketplace that goes a long way in building a great future for our state by creating jobs for our bright young men and women.
Gov. Rick Scott has worked hard to create nearly 1.5 million jobs in the past seven years and to make Florida a global destination for job creation.
A key element is getting President Donald Trump and our U.S. congressional leaders to support tax reform. We need a working tax system that benefits all Floridians, not only allowing hard-earned dollars to go back into the pockets of Floridians but also making Florida a No. 1 destination for businesses to form and thrive.
But our nation’s corporate income tax is hindering this progress from happening. Did you know the U.S. corporate income tax is the highest in the developed world? That’s right, our rate is 15 percent higher than average developed countries. Why? Our tax code is outdated, making it hard for businesses to compete with countries that provide lower tax rates and incentivize businesses to move from America to offshore. In fact, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Fortune 500 corporations are holding more than $2.6 trillion in profits offshore to avoid $767 billion in federal taxes.
By simply reducing the tax rate on businesses and workers across the country, we could overcome these incredible disadvantages and see a positive shift in the number of businesses wanting to relocate and grow their businesses here in the Sunshine State. The reality is, Florida is a unique state. We have 14 seaports and numerous attractions, allowing trade, transportation and tourism to be major driving forces for our state’s economy. And, we recently witnessed just how heavily dependent Floridians are on a healthy and vibrant marketplace — both in goods and services — with the recent preparations for Hurricane Irma.
We believe there is no better time than now for Washington to take a hard look at supporting tax reform.
TOM FEENEY, TALLAHASSEE
Editor’s note: Tom Feeney is president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida.