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Nancy Smith

Can Florida Afford a 'Governor Andrew Gillum'?

October 17, 2018 - 6:00am

James Madison Institute's just-released analysis of the two main governor candidates' economic platforms could wither a cactus. 

Most of us realize Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum have wildly contrasting economic plans, but I don't think we ever truly understood how much our choice on Nov. 6 could cost Florida and affect Floridians' way of life, perhaps for generations. As the analysis points out, "every single sector of our economy will either reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of the decisions our elected leaders make."    

Ron DeSantis' platform would maintain Florida’s status as a low tax state and a national economic leader; Andrew Gillum's "would cost $2.6 billion in additional state taxes, not including his support for Medicare-For-All, which will raise taxes significantly more" and put Florida on an economic par with some of the highest-taxed nations in Europe. 

If Gillum proposes paying for his spending proposals through Florida’s corporate income tax, the report concludes that ... "his corporate tax rate would have to rise to 11 percent, just above Pennsylvania’s tax rate, and even surpassing California’s rate."

Blow this study off at your own peril. This is JMI's business. It's what they do. For more than 30 years, the Tallahassee-based think tank has provided elected leaders and everyday Floridians with objective, compelling and timely information on policy issues affecting Florida's economy. 

This analysis, "Election 2018: Platforms, Proposals, Projections," is only a continuation of JMI's mission. To produce it, JMI partnered with the Washington Economics Group and Arduin, Laffer, and Moore -- both recognized internationally for their expertise and objectivity. Please take the time to read and share it.

"Election 2018" gets inside the central elements of each candidate’s economic agenda. It analyzes the fiscal implications of major proposals and projects the overall impacts from each on the economic climate of Florida.

There's no sugar-coating progressive candidate Andrew Gillum's policy agenda. It is to increase the corporate tax rate significantly, almost double the minimum wage, sharply expand government-controlled health insurance and mandate a $50,000 starting salary for teachers. According to the report, this is something that "would adversely impact the business climate of the state through higher taxes, a sharply higher minimum wage and state mandates to expand government-controlled health insurance."

All told, the policy agenda Gillum proposes would require an increase in the corporate tax rate to the second highest in the United States, an increase in Florida’s sales tax to 39 percent, or the imposition of a state income tax as high as 37 percent (and a state income tax is only possible through a constitutional amendment).

It's concerning that this report was prepared before Hurricane Michael virtually leveled an entire Florida tourism region, destroying whole towns -- people's houses, businesses, jobs and security. My husband and I went through Katrina on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. I've seen the wreckage, the homeless and the long process of relocation, the mental illness the storm's aftermath wrought, the hopelessness of people who may leave Florida and never return. Yes, Florida is resilient and it will rebuild, but I can tell you that in the end, the federal government will not pay all the bills.

Keep the rising Hurricane Michael bill in mind as you read this analysis.

If Florida chooses Gillum, "the economic impacts of abandoning the current low tax/top business climate rankings of Florida, based on the experience of the higher tax states presented in this brief, would ultimately cost Florida direct employment losses of 155,000 jobs and $28.2 billion in economic losses per year," say the authors.

Gillum also favors the legalization and taxation of marijuana to offset the cost of his education proposals. Possible marijuana revenue would gain the state $67 million a year in new revenue. But Florida legalized medical marijuana four years ago and again in 2016 and still it's ensnared in bickering and red tape.

DeSantis' agenda, to largely maintain the pro-growth-oriented strategy of Florida through low and stable taxes, "would preserve and strengthen the state’s business climate, which supports the attraction, retention and expansion of employment-generating business enterprises. This agenda also includes investing in the "classroom" the savings from lower educational administration costs, and in technical/vocational programs to improve workforce development. Ultimately," the report concludes, "this agenda would lead to the creation of 215,000 jobs annually and $26.6 billion in annual economic output."

The analysis includes much more about health care, criminal justice and education, and you'll want to have a look at that, too. But I worry about the strings Gillum's billionaire donors will have on his agenda if he is elected. I see no cost anticipated for the demands of environmentalists to fight climate change, re-program water projects, impose clean-energy mandates.

As JMI points out, elections have consequences, and policy agendas have costs and benefits. In the end, it's Florida voters who must weigh the costs of each candidate’s agenda and choose which policies/candidates they believe will create a brighter, more prosperous future for Florida. I hope Andrew Gillum will have a chance in the upcoming candidate debate to explain how Florida can afford to elect him without becoming another bloated, big-government fiscal failure like the states people up North are anxious to leave.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


Gillum is loser, and has been long before he ran for Gov., and he proved that as Tallahassee's Mayor; He's a "lost cause" Leslie,... even if he IS black,... which is the ONLY reason why YOU'RE so adament on his behalf. Yup,.. a "lost cause"! (Guess I have no choice but to vote for the white guy..!)

No response to the God thing, huh? I didn’t think you would have one, given where the hurricane actually hit. As far as the loser thing goes, well, all of you kept saying Gillum was going to lose the primary too, and look how that turned out. Between Gillum and DeRacist, only DeRacist has “dropped out” of a campaign because he couldn’t win. cc: Rubio. Gillum hasn’t lost yet. If that’s your definition of loser, I’m sure Gillum will take it every time. By the way, Florida is now lean Democrat in the Gubernatorial race.

You Leslie are pathetic. Andrew was lucky to win the primary elections. Florida will not stand to be a pathetic Democrat lean. All democrats want to do is live off the government and tax the rich. We will not stand for that nonsense! Oh, also save your tears for later when Ron Desantis wins as governor!

You, Sir are an idiot... Your distasteful attempt at humor is exactly that...

Floridians ... the year 'round working people in this state ... 'the 90%' ... can't afford any more GOP 'fatcat' rule ... favoring the predatory profiteers and the special monied interests. The governance of this state needs to be re-focused on the needs, interests, and consumer protections of "The People" rather than continuing to aggrandize the carpetbaggers and business interests as the Republicans have done.. Andrew Gillum will provide the opportunity for a very necessary fresh start and a new day! Go Gillum!

Can we afford Gillum? "Yes We Can!" Remember what happened the last time we elected a young, bright, black guy to high office? He repaired the national economy. Florida didn't recover in a vacuum, and Trump's economy didn't appear overnight either. Don't be afraid of the dark.

Obama stated that manufacturering will not come back to this country unless someone has a magic wand. His words not mine. Yet manufacturing has started returning to this country. This isn’t about race, it isn’t even about democrat or republican forget labels and just be non partial and think about actual common sense. What company would start operations in FL if it is proposed by one candidate to be among the highest corporate tax rates in the country? there is zero incentive for a company to operate in FL. Why would they? If they are taxed higher (among the highest in the country) that means those costs would be passed into consumers, it means less jobs, it means hindered wages and can’t be as competitive. Hence why would they just go to GA where the corporate taxes would be substantially lower? Or NC? Etc.

The last time I voted for a bright young black guy I was so disgusted by him I left the Democratic Party. He was a liar and a horrible president.

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your plan you can keep your plan. My health insurance went through the roof in increased cost and major increased deductible.

More socialist and party drivel from the uneducated. I don't think most of these fools can even define Socialism or spell it... It is the rallying cry of the uneducated fools...

You know, you sound like the absurd parent who threatens their kids that if they don't behave and get to bed ... the big, black, boogieman is gonna get 'em! The "drivel" here is coming from YOUR keyboard!

Doctor, did you get your degree from Trump University?

Gillum is anti-Semitic. Period.Read this and PASS it on to all your friends. Andrew Gillum, gubernatorial candidate for Governor is anti-Semitic. Vote for DeSantis! 9-6-18 When talking to a Lefty podcaster, Gillum, Florida's candidate for governor lets loose against Israel. 9-12-18 Gillum Aligns With Groups That Support Boycotts of Israel Associations fueling questions from Florida's large pro-Israel community. He opposes our embassy in Jerusalem, he does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal and indivisible capital, and he even criticizes Israel’s response against Hamas [militants] in May of 2018. 9-12-18 Florida Governor Candidate ‘Proud and Pleased’ With Pro-BDS Group’s Endorsement 9-13-18 Andrew Gillum Encouraged Attendees at CAIR-Hosted Conference Promoting Boycott of Israel A CAIR-Florida press release from February 12, 2016 documents all. 9-17-18 Andrew Gillum supported by a nasty Leftists group. The organization spent $3.5 million helping far Left Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum beat his opponent calls for an "end" to capitalism, rants against Independence Day (July 4) and spreads malicious falsehoods about Israel. The organization, Dream Defenders strongly supports the extremist Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting the Jewish state. Its website labels the entire State of Israel as the “continued settler colonial project.” It pushes the false charges that “Israel was declared on top of stolen Palestinian land, with Zionist militias committing massacres and forced evictions, then immediately ethnically cleansing over 750,000 Palestinians from the lands, and internally displacing thousands more.” 9-21-18 Andrew Gillum's Running Mate Claimed Jews 'Nailed' Him To 'The Cross' After He Lost Student Government Election At Harvard

Your making me want to be anti-semitic...

You're ridiculous. And, the considerable Jewish populations of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties will largely vote for Gillum and insure his victory. You call Gillum an anti-semite ... yet ... you come across like an off-the-wall zealot. Putrid puerile partisanship.

Charlotte, how bout those Proud Boys in Charlottesville, chanting: "Jew will not replace us!" with their backyard tiki torches? They are all fine people, as Trump says. If you are looking for anti-semites, the GOP is chock full of them. If you want to know who spray paints swastikas on synagogues, it isn't liberals. I don't think Desantis is racist, nor is Gillum anti-Semitic. Either man will be a stunning improvement over the scoundrel.

You're right "Charlotte"; Gillum's reputation SHOULD serve as a 'warning' to "Liberty & Freedom" loving CITIZENS throughout our "Sunshine State",...and just how far we have allowed those "freedoms" to wander "at the hands of" illiterate "entitlement seeking invaders" and firmly ensconced "gloms" that seize any free thing, or entitlement, they can get their hands on without any semblance of legitimate labor or right. We are currently "in the era" of being overwhelmed by illegitimate voting attempts by those "Illegal Invaders" and our ALWAYS discontented "entitlement hogs" who "game the system" at every opportunity via our corrupted political system as well as our flawed "secondary education system". The "voice of reason" seems to have been silenced over the last ten years PRIOR to the "TRUMP PRESIDENCY"... (BUT REST ASSURED, "The Silent Majority" still exists, and will act accordingly, and decisively, when the "need arises" and if this "silly season" fails to "correct itself" and continues to erode our inherent freedoms...

This is the long time strategy of Republicans. It is simply a strategy of fear. The same thing has happened with every elected Democrat for the last 30 years. Guess what? The sky never fell when they were elected. In fact, most areas thrived. In the last 20 years, Democratic Presidents have far outpaced their Republican counterparts in job growth. The only one to even come close? Reagan, and towards the end of his tenure, job creation started dropping off sharply and inflation increased as well. Why? Because trickle down economics didn't work then, and repackaged it still isn't working now. This is the same failed strategy they have been using for 40 years... This state is now 2nd in the country in income inequality. We moved up to 7 in education in terms of standardized testing, but 47 in overall funding for education. So, our kids are now better at testing in reading and math, but that is such a small part of education and development. That is all they measure, that's it. All Gillum has proposed is raising the corporate tax rate for high earning businesses, the top 3%. He has proposed no other tax increases. However, he is proposing to do something better for people. DeSantis is only proposing to do something better for big business and high wage earners, and he voted to eliminate pre-existing condition coverage in health care, and increase the retirement age for Social Security to 70, and voted decrease Medicare. Just like Trump. Sure the markets are good and the top 3% of wage earners have increased their wealth by 37%. Income inequality is now the worst ever, that's ever, and we have added to the federal deficit by the most in history in one year 776 billion, due to wide, sweeping tax breaks for the very wealthy. I got an extra $37 in my paycheck. My rich uncle is making millions more. Good for him, but I really think we should be helping the people that need it the most, more than millionaires that don't really need it. That is the real choice here. Do you choose people, or do you choose special interests and the mega-wealthy... It is an easy choice for me...

LOL I have to say this cracked me up as you can tune into any MSM network and hear the pundits constantly saying how everything will fall apart, doom and gloom. When Obama was elected there was the same thing to an extent by the other side talking about doom and gloom. Point being, it is done by both parties not just one or the other. I mean this isn’t about a fight of democrat or republican, it is about who the candidate is and what they stand for and how they propose to make accomplishments. The NJ senate race is a sad example of people voting merely because of a party affiliation and zero to do with the candidate. Even democrats said they had to hold their nose while casting a vote for NJ senator Bob Menedez. I man that is a sad statement that one can’t stand a candidate but votes for them anyway strictly because of party affiliation. In theory Gillum wanted to expand Medicaid and increase teachers wages etc are all nice wonderful things but the path to accomplish that isn’t to simply jack up taxes on companies that leads to companies not wanting to be based in FL or leaving FL to go to a friendlier tax state. Those that already have infrastructure here will simply increase costs and could ultimately make them less competitive if they have to increase product/services costs hence it will impact employees, hinder job growth etc. It is easy for everyday Floridians working hard to sit back and demonize big corporations as greedy money hungry enemy that should pay a premium. But anyone who has owned, started, developed or led a business knows it isn’t a cake walk. Donald Trump may not be loved by all for various reasons....he doesn’t take a salary as every other president has, he is doing this job for free. He has brought manufacturing back into this country when Obama himself said that would take a magic wand to do. One may not support some of Trumps directions or path he wants to move down, but not everyone liked Obama’s either. At the end of the day you have to stop putting a label on people and parties.....stop thinking about what “sounds good” and think about the path to accomplish that. I mean if I ran and said free food for everyone, free health insurance for everyone. Raise teacher pay. Raise law enforcement pay etc that all sounds great but if I then said to accomplish this I am going to make corporate taxes among the highest in the country - potentially even exceeding California’s tax rate......think about what the consequences of that is? The companies leave and or don’t come to FL and then who is going to provide all these things?

This is not an election for Gilliam for President, this is strictly an election for Governor of Florida. So let's Keep Florida Great, as Rick Scott has done, and elect Ron DeSantis, or be very, very sorry you did not! PS: who do you think is paying 97% of taxes? Not the 97%! Stop with the abundance-shortage consciousness; there's plenty to go around, if you want it.

spoken like a true have, as opposed to a have not... or too stupid to really care, so you'll support the party platform like good sheep. I make a 100k+ a year, so I am not hurting and I get there is plenty to go around, but it still boils down to people or special interests, easy choice...

If it's the "party platform"..OR.. "Andrew Gillum",.. I vote for the "party platform"....[The anti-Gillum "platform" !]

I enjoyed your insightful article and it is very good food for thought for all of us in Florida. Strong leadership has gotten us to where we are now and frankly Gillum's policies scare me for Florida's future. People need to think through the ramifications of having a left leaning progressive governor and how it could harm our state.

So; we has a governor who should be in jail but instead stole from all of us, getting much richer in the process. Here's a guy who claims to have been poor as a child', invented nothing (is stealing from Medicare "inventing"?) and now is worth hundreds of millions. Explain that to me, Nancy. I'm sure that we're all (including YOU) willing to do without medical care, a living wage, etc. so that Crooked rick can get richer.

Andrew Gillium is a anti-constitutional Socialist! The ideas he has run contrary to the very basic concepts of our country! That would be life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, a limited government not intruding on your life!

Do you know the definition of socialism? Or the definition of socialist? Gillium doesn't want the government to own any of the major businesses in our community. He wants these businesses to pay their fait share of the cost of the community that they profit from. That's not anti-constitutional either. Look we can disagree on what the next step should be. Truth be told no one can predict the future, but we should all be mature enough to make our point with degrading personal attacks. You like Desantis, good. I don't, good for me. Nov 6 let the people speak.

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle, "Robert" is just one of the GOPs (Good Ol' Pussygrabbers?) proselytizing and propagandizing parrots ... peddling Gingrich's politics of personal destruction ... which the Republican deplorables have taken on as a their personal artform! #GoGillum #VoteBlue

Said Gillum: you mean to tell me that someone has to pay for all my give-aways?

Nancy, no matter how much SSN wants to help Ron DeSantis, he’s still racist garbage.

I'm voting for Ron of my own will, niether party will dictate my vote.


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nancy smith


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