SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed

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


To me ... anyone who is a Trump lickspittle and claims Trump as his personal hero and model ... as DeSantis has continually done on Faux News ... is "garbage". Trump is clearly an habitual liar, a serial cheater, a continual demeanor and denigrator of his critics and women in particular, an unrequited authoritarian ... and has clearly evidenced racist comments and actions. Trump is unfit to be president and, consequently, DeSantis is unfit to be governor.

Miss Leslie, tear them a new one!

No more than you!

Or your mother, Robert!!

Come up for dinner Leslie and get a job and out of our basement ya spoiled brat

Ok let's do this.... Your argument is it is a bad thing to double the minimum wage to a living wage, to insure that all Floridians have health insurance, that teachers make a salary that equates to a living wage (my wife has been teaching for 12 years and doesn't make $50k now) and to pay for it through raising the taxes on corporations. Just wanted to make sure I got it. So you want us to be upset because life will get better for the masses and the corporations will have to reduce their profit margins. And you want us to see Desantis' plan as the better option? Look, all political affiliation beside the point, at minimum wage a person would take home less than $400 a week before taxes. That's less than $1200 a month. You cant survive anywhere in Florida with $1200 a month. Teachers, the ones we entrust our most prized possessions, our children, make less than $50k a year. That's $2000 a month before taxes, after taxes that's $1600 a month. In Miami a clean safe apartment will cost you $1200 to $1400 a month. Now what? If we weren't married my wife would have to have a roommate or move back home with her mom. This is a woman with a bachelor's degree and 2 Masters. No sane person can argue that everybody deserves a living wage. Everyone doesn't deserve to live in mansions, those who are able to achieve more should be rewarded and live better. But those who provide services should be compensated in a way that allows them to provide the basics for themselves and their families. Oh by the way if we add in the cost of health insurance to the above mentioned examples the numbers get really bad. Healthcare coverage in a way that can be afforded is a must. Forget Red or Blue party and just remember the people.

Nice fantasy, unfortunately the real world doesn't work that way. Here's an article on the actual results of Seattle's increase of the minimum wage.

Oh William, that is far too responsible an argument for you to make, and worse yet, it is true, so it won't appeal to Republicans.... It would either have to be a lie, or a nonsensical argument, like that we are all going to be socialists for the remainder of our lives if we vote for Gillum...

I know it's highly unpopular with folks looking to make a quick buck but the concept of "maintaining the growth of business" brings with it the need for continued growth in population, housing, roads, schools, hospitals, law enforcement, etc. The projections for Florida's budget rely on predicted growth. If you want to turn Florida into a smog-choked hell hole this would be the best way to do it. Controlled growth, impact fees that require developers to subsidize cures for the traffic gridlock they create, protection of public lands and wilderness never seem to make the news here. Take the long view, what kind of Florida do you want to leave your grandchildren? Remove the wrecking crew.

Great article and Gillum's real plan sounds great to me ;^)…………..Lowering insurance, medical, drug costs that it will do sounds very good to most people especially as if repubs don't block it, stops a lot of the scams by medical corporations of overcharging, etc us...………….Fact is overall and in the long run, better lower cost healthcare is aq big plus especially to business as lowers their costs...…………..It's time for corporations to pay their share instead of foisting the costs onto the taxpayers in corporate welfare repubs love giving out...………...But they conveniently forget a tax cut on one is a tax increase on the rest...………….And the refusal of not expanding Medicaid has killed how many working people that it made them unable to afford care?...……….And Florida paid $2B/yr more to self fund Medicaid rather than take Fed money no one ever mentions...………..So it cost over $2B/yr to not put 700k more people who needed healthcare on medicaid...………...And Scott, repubs said with a straight face not taking Medicaid would save money!!………….And that is just Healthcare repub style...………...So Gillum is looking very good to me and many women that are coming to take you out of office...………….Repubs have turned completely fiscally and morally so bankrupt a black dem is going to be governor of Florida...……...Think about that;^)…………..Hurts you to the core doesn't it?

Great article. Thanks for telling Floridians the truth about Andrew Gillum. Why would any voter want to ruin our great state just to vote Democrat? Power hungry Democrats continue to amaze me.

"Power hungry Democrats" ??? This has been a one-party Republican state for the last 20 years! Look around. It's the fascistic Republicans that have been "power hungry" and authoritarian ... in D.C. and in Florida! The Democrats are the party of the people ... the Republicans are the party of the fatcats and Big Business.

Honestly I don’t even see this as a question of democrat or republican......instead it is a very simple concept.....over tax corporations to be among the highest in the country and ponder what company would elect to come open operations in FL or remain in FL? Additionally why would we support people coming into the country be sneaking in so to speak and not doing it the right way? I can’t sneak onto an airplane. I can’t sneak into my neighbors house without being charged with breaking the law for breaking an entering. We have borders around our homes which is called our property and we subsequently pay property taxes.


Comments are now closed.

nancy smith


Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.