Past public policy decisions continue to affect Floridians’ ability to thrive today, according to a new report released by Florida Policy. The Florida Timeline shows how past laws and policies have impacted Floridians’ ability to thrive. WMFE’s Talia Blake spoke with Florida Policy Institute CEO Sadaf Knight about the agenda and what she can tell us about the state’s history of tax inequality.

Sadaf Knight is the CEO of the Florida Policy Institute.  (by Sadaf Knight/FPI)

Sadaf Knight is the CEO of the Florida Policy Institute. (by Sadaf Knight/FPI)


The Florida Timeline is an ongoing initiative by the Florida Policy Institute and partners to “raise awareness of the systemic racism that has permeated Florida’s historic laws and continues to permeate politics today.”

The politics we see today are not by accident, said the company’s CEO Sadaf Knight.

He said that the policy discussed and passed at this time is part of the history of political debate in our country.

“And we’re building on that history and being part of that legacy,” Knight said. “And we need to understand that in order to build a bright future where economic opportunity is accessible to everyone in Florida.”

So far in the initiative, there are two time frames published with an overview of Florida’s tax policy.

Tax Policy

Florida is one of less than 10 states in the country that does not have a personal income tax, which is a tax on your salary, wages, investments, or other forms of income. other you can.

Knight says politics is an example of how we see echoes of the past in today’s debates.

In 1924, lawmakers passed, and voters approved, a constitutional amendment banning personal income and inheritance taxes.

Knight said the state wants to attract affluent residents to help drive development and growth in Florida.

“Fast forward to today, we still see that the focus of the tax policy debate continues, who do we want, who can stimulate development, who can stimulate growth in Florida,” he said “and often the business and the company.”

There is no personal income tax in states that rely heavily on sales taxes, Knight said, affecting middle- and lower-income people.

“Because our taxes are basically all the things you need to buy every day,” he said, “The goods and services you need to feed your family and live your life.”

Knight said low-income people pay more than 13% of their personal income in sales taxes compared to 3% for the highest-income Floridians.

Compared to other states, Knight said Florida’s tax system is one of the most unfair in the country.

“I believe it’s the 49th most unfair tax system in the country,” he said, “Which means low-income people pay more in state and local taxes.” because of the wealthy residents of Florida.”

A suitable solution

Like Florida, Washington state has no personal income tax.

But what they have that the Sunshine State doesn’t have is the working family tax credit, which puts money back into the pockets of working people and families.

Knight said the state received such an income tax credit could help address Florida’s tax disparity.

The Florida Policy Institute calls the idea the Working Floridians Tax Rebate.

Knight said, “It will reflect the federal EITC, which is basically a deduction that workers take back every year to help put a little more money back in their pocket and help to refinance. the equality of the tax system.”

If Florida had a working rebate, Knight said it would bring about $862 million a year to the state’s economy.

He said the average tax bill for working Floridians could be about $500.

Knight added that the rebate is aimed at meeting low- and moderate-income Floridians.

To learn more about the Florida Timeline, visit their website here.

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