Editor's note: This column was co-authored by Grover Norquist.
A Republican Governor would confirm the path of the last eight years led by Governor Rick Scott with eight annual tax cuts totaling more than $10 billion. The state has no personal income tax and between 1992 and 2016 attracted almost two million new citizens with a combined annual income of $156 billion from the other 49 states in search of low taxes, jobs, and sun. Florida would remain red confirming through redistricting 15 Republican and 11 Democrat congressmen -- a huge GOP advantage in all future battles for control of a House majority and speaker. A Democrat win could rewrite the redistricting to Democrat advantage and make a House Democrat majority more likely and more long lasting.
Florida’s governor’s race may well decide, through redistricting, who runs the House of Representatives for the next decade. And Florida which had three electoral votes when it became a state in 1845, now commands 29 electoral votes. Its vote elected Bush in 2000 and will be a large part of every electoral vote contest for the next generation.
Florida stands athwart any candidate’s road to the presidency.
The choice is stark between two candidates and two paths promising to head in fully opposite directions: not simply partisan affiliation, but on all the key policy questions facing a state.
Democrat candidate Andrew Gillum proudly carries the banner of Bernie Sanders. He has endorsed Medicare for All, the $32 trillion (over a decade) expansion of the entitlement state, a job-killing $15 “minimum wage” in a state with a low cost of living, and a 40% increase in the corporate tax rate to 7.75%. Florida now bans a personal income tax by constitution and the spending and tax hikes proposed by Gillum will demand higher sales taxes and tax hikes on businesses.
A recent analysis from the Florida-based James Madison Institute done in conjunction with The Washington Economics Group and Arduin, Laffer, and Moore shows Gillum’s tax and spending proposals would result in the loss of more than 260,000 jobs and $28 billion in economic activity every year. Tax hikes have consequences.
Republican candidate Ron DeSantis, a congressman first elected in 2012 and a former Navy Seal who served in Iraq, has signed the Taxpayer Protection pledge promising to oppose and veto any net tax hike, voted for the Republican/Trump tax cut of 2017 and for the repeal of Obamacare. DeSantis has committed to reducing the 5.5 percent corporate income tax as well as the Communications Services Tax and the Business Lease Tax. Contrasted with Florida’s usual low tax policies, the Communications Services Tax is one of the highest in the nation and Florida is the only state in the nation that imposes a tax on business rental costs.
The James Madison Institute study shows that the DeSantis proposals will create more than 200,000 jobs and produce an additional $26 billion in new household income and GDP in Florida.
America and Florida are at a tipping point with the left and right, advocates of more vs. less government spending, control and taxation evenly balanced. The next governor of Florida will continue or reverse the direction of the Jeb Bush and Rick Scott Republican leadership or go the full monty leftward.
Florida, the third largest state economy in the nation and the 17th largest economy in the world, a state composed of men and women from every nation in the world, and comprised of large cities, expansive suburbs and rural agriculture is a testing ground, a source of bragging rights about the future and the fulcrum of an evenly balanced nation.
Grover Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington, D.C taxpayer advocacy organization. Dr. Robert McClure is the president of the James Madison Institute, a free market think tank in Florida.