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Business Observer Monday, Aug. 3, 2009 13 years ago

Florida: Tax oasis or wasteland?

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The old saw that statistics can be bent to prove any point of view rings especially true when it comes to economic rankings of states. Florida is no exception.

The old saw that statistics can be bent to prove any point of view rings especially true when it comes to economic rankings of states. Florida is no exception.

Hence, prominent groups such as the Fraser Institute, Forbes, Tax Foundation, and several other think tanks placed Florida in the top 10 of U.S. states with the best economic competitiveness.

But it's not that simple, according to Florida TaxWatch, which recently released an analysis of Florida's rankings in a bevy of these reports. The gist: Florida is probably in the top 15 nationwide when it comes to business competiveness, but it could do a lot better.

For example, even though Florida might be ranked high on average, the Beacon Hill Institute, the Corp. for Enterprise Development, and New Economy actually graded the state quite poorly. Florida TaxWatch blames those mediocre ratings on property tax burdens, crime, quality of life, and an inadequate number of “knowledge workers.”

The state was however lauded for its lack of personal income tax and low unemployment insurance on businesses.

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