What California (And Other High-tax States) Fail to Understand About Economic Growth

July 8, 2019

Op-Ed: Sen. Rick Scott
July 8, 2019

On July 1, California hiked its gas tax to the highest rate in the country.

The gas tax, in particular, is one of the most regressive taxes. It hurts the poorest families in our country the most. 

Tax increases in California shouldn’t shock anyone, but the craziest part of this plan is that the increase STILL won’t be enough to cover the repairs California needs for roads, bridges and mass transit. Officials are actually considering additional fees on top of the new tax!

That’s not how we operated in Florida when I was Governor, and that’s not how any state in our nation should operate. 

What Governor Newsom (and Governors like Cuomo in New York and Pritzker in Illinois) don’t seem to understand is that you can cut taxes, regulations and debt to help create new jobs while simultaneously investing in infrastructure, the environment and education. I know it’s possible because we did it in Florida.

When I first ran for Governor in 2010, Florida was in bad shape. It was like a failing business. The state had lost 832,000 jobs in just four years. Home prices had dropped by almost half. Business investment and new home construction dried up while existing developments were scuttled and left half-built. And in response, Florida politicians had raised taxes, which only made it worse on families.  

I am an outsider to politics and spent most of my career in business. When I ran for Governor in 2010, my goal was to turn Florida’s economy around. The naysayers said it wouldn’t work; they said a businessman can’t make government work. But, we did it. 

We cut waste, lived within our means and focused on creating jobs. I cut taxes in Florida nearly 100 times, saving Florida families and businesses more than $10 billion while making huge investments in our state. Florida went from losing more than 800,000 jobs in the four years before I was Governor, to creating nearly 1.7 million private-sector jobs while I was in office. And I invested $85 billion to transform Florida’s transportation infrastructure without ever raising a tax or fee.  

What Governors of these other high-tax states don’t seem to understand is that in America, states are competing with each other and states like New York, Connecticut, Illinois and, yes, California are losing. And they will keep losing to Florida because we know how to improve our state economy without putting a bigger burden on our hardworking families.

As much as I love to compete with other states (I send thank you notes to other Governors when they raise taxes!), I want every state in America to share in Florida’s success story. I want every American family to have every opportunity to succeed and get a job. 

That’s why we have to continue growing the American economy, not the government economy.