Friendly Tax Climate Gives Florida Lawmakers Reason to Celebrate

Published December 3, 2017

In addition to ringing in 2018 in January, Florida state lawmakers can celebrate their state’s high ranking in the 2018 edition of the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index report.

The Tax Foundation uses more than 100 variables to rank all 50 states’ tax structures every year, comparing how tax policies affect  businesses, families, and individuals.

The report, published in October 2017, ranked Florida as having the nation’s fourth-best state tax structure, accounting for levies on corporations, individual income, sales, unemployment insurance, and property.

Breaking Down the Results

John Buhl, media relations manager at the Tax Foundation, says Florida’s tax structure relies on sales tax revenue.

“Florida relies more heavily on its sales tax than other states, since it doesn’t have an income tax, but its sales tax structure ranks 29th, somewhat in the middle of the pack,” Buhl said. “It also scores fairly well on property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes.”

Consistent Praise

Amber Hughes, a senior legislative advocate for the Florida League of Cities, says Florida’s taxes are generally well-designed.

“Florida always ranks in the top ten,” Hughes said. “We are usually within the top five. Other studies have ranked us at number three. It is quite common for us to rank well.”

The absence of a personal income tax makes Florida attractive to business owners looking to escape unfriendly states, Hughes says.

“With this report, the personal income tax is a factor, and we don’t have that,” Hughes said. “It is going to be beneficial for a ranking, and also very beneficial when businesses are looking to locate here.”

Attracting Businesses

Taxpayer-friendly climates are a magnet for business owners seeking to relocate, in addition to encouraging entrepreneurs to expand their operations, Hughes says.

 “This not only creates jobs, but it also creates nice communities and a healthy economy, which at the end of the day I think most residents want,” Hughes said.

Florida’s taxes are linked to personal income growth, Hughes says, keeping the burden from rising too rapidly.

“The thought is that taxes shouldn’t grow faster than the ability of a resident or business to pay for it,” Hughes said.

Andrew Burger ([email protected]) is a writer for An earlier version of this article was published at Reprinted with permission.