In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, Florida collected $67 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Florida taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in Chart 1, Florida’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by private sector personal income) was the third lowest in the nation for FY 2015 at 10.8 percent—or -25 percent below the national average of 14.4 percent.
As shown in Chart 2, Florida’s tax burden has decreased over time by -11 percent to 10.8 percent in FY 2015 from 12.1 percent in FY 1950. Only two other states have accomplished this amazing feat: Alaska which is down -36 percent (since FY 1959 which is the year they became a state) and South Dakota which is down -8 percent.
As shown in Chart 3, Florida’s 10.8 percent tax burden is greater than these combined industries: construction (4.7 percent), manufacturing (4.1 percent), and real estate and rental and leasing (1.8 percent).
Florida’s low state and local tax burden can be first attributed to not having an individual income tax since it tends to be progressive (higher tax rates on higher levels of income) which increases the tax burden over time.
Additionally, Florida has been reducing the property tax and all other taxes with declines of -27 percent (3.6 percent, 18th lowest) and -52 percent (3 percent, 18th highest), respectively. These declines are offset by the sales tax which has grown 357 percent to 3.8 percent and is the 17th highest in the country.
Of course, the tax burdens for local government can vary just as much as they do among the 50 states. As such, we have also calculated the local government tax burden for every county in Florida—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself (see Chart 4).
The ten Florida counties with the highest local government tax burden include:
The ten Florida counties with the lowest local government tax burden include:
Finally, don’t forget to watch our exclusive time-lapse video of state and local tax burdens over the last 65 years! See if your state has been above or below the national average?
Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.