According to a new report published Wednesday by the Pew Center on the States, Floridians would in one case actual support paying higher taxes - to pay for K-12 education.
The report looks at five states: Florida, California, Arizona, Illinois and New York, and finds that only in the Sunshine State do less than a majority of the citizens feel the budget situation is a major problem (estimates range that the state will be facing a deficit next year of perhaps $2.5 billion. By comparison, California lawmakers just finished putting together their budget, where they faced a $19 billion gap).
The report says that thanks to the stimulus program, Florida lawmakers have been able to avoid the hard choices that lawmakers in those other states have had to choose from, which is why Florida politicians are actually held in slightly higher esteem than their colleagues across the country. From the report:
Even more striking, 70 percent of respondents say they would be willing to pay higher taxes just to maintain current funding for K-12 education. Health and human services is the only other area in which a majority (54 percent) of respondents says it would pay igher taxes to maintain funding levels. Floridians are divided on the issue of paying higher taxes for higher education (49 percent say yes, 50 percent say no).
As Gary Fineout in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports today, those numbers could undercut Rick Scott's proposal that that calls for slashing state spending in order to pay for property tax cuts and the gradual elimination of the state's corporate income tax. The former health care chain executive says that will make Florida more attractive for businesses to come to the Sunshine State.