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Florida's low state taxes costs residents more, report shows

Floridians pay more than $5K per year in state, local taxes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A new report shows that state taxes in Florida are among the lowest in the nation. Florida TaxWatch officials said the state ranks 42nd, but the low state tax burden comes at a cost in other, higher taxes.

Floridians pay an average of $5,679 a year in state and local taxes, almost $1,400 below the national average.

Florida TaxWatch officials said one of the reasons is tourists pick up part of the tab.

“That does offset the need, or the requirement, for having a state income tax, a state inheritance tax,” said Dominic Calabro, with Florida TaxWatch.

While the overall burden is low, the study found that local government taxes in Florida are the second-highest in the country.

As lawmakers cut taxes, they pushed the burden to local government, especially when it comes to schools.

“So then the local has to raise their taxes, so the local is the one who looks bad and the state looks good,” said Florida Education Association President Joanne McCall.

Florida is also one of the few states that charge businesses a sales tax when they rent property. That’s made business taxes the 12th-highest in the country.

This year, lawmakers cut the tax on commercial rentals by 0.1 percent, saving between $30 million and $40 million.

The Florida Retail Federation has been fighting to end the rental tax altogether.

It’s something that all the businesses that rent space have to deal with,” said James Miller, with FRA. "Also, local governments have been running wild with local taxes to pay for programs and initiatives on the backs of businesses, so that report doesn’t surprise us at all that we would have taxes that high.”

Also bringing down the state tax rates are higher-than-average taxes on utilities, fuel, cellphones and alcohol.

People in Arizona pay the least state and local taxes at $4,924 per year.

North Dakotans pay the most at just over $12,000 per year.