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Aaron Sharockman
By Aaron Sharockman March 8, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott says budget cuts taxes by $2 billion

Gov. Rick Scott asked Florida legislators to pass his proposed budget during his first State of the State speech on March 8, 2011.

It's a budget that cuts spending to balance the budget as required by the state Constitution.

And,  it cuts taxes.

"I delivered to you a budget that ... cuts taxes by $2 billion," Scott told legislators on the first day of its 60-day legislative session.

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Let's walk through the math of his budget. Scott proposed a two-year budget that cuts a host of taxes and fees. Here's a breakdown from the governor's office. Scott's budget proposal would:

Reduce the corporate income tax from 5.5 percent to 3 percent in 2011-12 and from 3 percent to 2.5 percent in 2012-13. The rate cut will save those who pay the tax $459 million this year and a little more than $1 billion in 2012-13;

Reduce the required local effort, a property tax to fund schools, saving taxpayers around $600 million in 2011-12. The tax cut would carry forward in 2012-13;

Reduce the property tax collected by state water management districts 25 percent for two years, saving taxpayers $180 million annually;

• Reduce unemployment compensation taxes by shortening how long Floridians can collect benefits and making it more difficult for them to be eligible. Scott's office says that will save $630.8 million over two years;

• Roll back 2009 Legislature-approved fee increases for driver licenses, vehicle registrations and other motor vehicle fees. Scott says the rollback would save drivers $492 million over two years;

• And repeal or alter other small taxes on ammonia, pesticides, fertilizer, solvents, dry cleaning, tires and lead acid batteries, among other things. The changes would save $77 million over two years, Scott's office says.

Taken together, that is a total of $1.7 billion in tax and fee cuts in 2011-12 -- slightly below the figure he claimed in his speech. (Scott's office, by the way, claims a total of $4.1 billion over two years, but that number is deceiving because most cuts in the second year of Scott's budget aren't additional cuts; they are just the same cuts rolled over.)

Scott said his budget cuts taxes by $2 billion. But really, the number is about 15 percent high, based on the estimates of his own budget office. We rate this claim Mostly True.

Our Sources

Gov. Rick Scott budget presentation, Feb. 7, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott, corporate tax reduction proposal, Feb. 7, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott, water management district two-year tax "holiday," Feb. 7, 2011

Interview with Jerry McDaniel, Feb. 9, 2011

Florida Today, Budget effects in Brevard, Feb. 8, 2011

Florida Demographic Estimating Conference, Oct. 25, 2010 estimates

Gov. Rick Scott budget proposals 2011-2013, released Feb. 7, 2011

Florida Demographic Estimating Conference, methodology, accessed Feb. 10, 2011

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Gov. Rick Scott says budget cuts taxes by $2 billion

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