73ºF

Are major Florida corporations dodging taxes?

Study: Florida corporations not paying fair share of taxes

photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Who's really paying for Florida? A new report about the state's biggest companies said it is not them.

Exempting more corporate income has been scoffed at in the past, but a bill that would do just that has already cleared two committees ahead of next week's session.

Gov. Rick Scott makes his agenda pretty clear.

"The most important thing you can do to change lives is give someone a job," Scott said.

Scott's quest for more jobs even took him to Philadelphia earlier this week to try and poach more companies.

But a new study said corporations in Florida aren't paying their fair share.

"Floridians should know that there's more money coming out of our pockets from the public to the largest corporations in this state -- in terms of contracts and subsidies -- than those companies pay back on their profits taxes to state governments nationally," said Dan Krassner, with Integrity Florida.

Government watchdog Integrity Florida's new study looked at 17 Fortune 500 corporations in the state. It found that the 13 profitable ones paid on average below the state's tax rate.

Of the combined $35 billion the companies made, they paid less than $1 billion in taxes.

"Well, the question is: Who should pay for Florida? Who should pay for Florida today and our future?" Krassner said.

The study said that taxpayers provided more than $2 billion to the companies in the form of state contracts.

"The average Florida taxpayer and individual citizens are picking up a lot more of the tab than the biggest corporations in this state," Krassner said.

The governor wants to eliminate the corporate tax rate all together. At the very least, he wants to exempt more profits from being taxed. 

"It's a mixed bag, which is like a lot of things. There's no guarantee that a lower rate produces any more jobs at all," said Alan Stonecipher, who helped write the report.

If the proposal goes through, it would mean less money for the state budget.