Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has released the following statement regarding actions taken in Washington to avert the ‘fiscal cliff’:
As the ball dropped and Americans rang in the New Year with much joy and anticipation, at the 11th hour the President and Congress passed inadequate legislation to soften the impact of going over the fiscal cliff. While the politicians in Washington subsequently took a day off to celebrate what they viewed as a legislative victory, this was certainly not a win for the American people, who returned to work with a higher payroll tax.
Although lower income tax rates were preserved for many Americans, ultimately the President and Congress failed to enact real tax and spending reform that is desperately needed to get our nation back on track for the long term. Here’s one example: the state sales tax deduction. Americans who pay state income taxes have a permanent deduction, but the deduction for all states that do not have an income tax must be renewed every few years, impacting approximately 20 percent of Florida taxpayers. This deduction was renewed at the last minute as a part of the fiscal cliff negotiations, but despite bipartisan support, the sales tax deduction is still only temporary.
We cannot continue this kind of haphazard governance that makes every tax season a crisis and contributes to an environment of uncertainty weighing down on an already fragile economy.
It is my mission to do everything possible to make this deduction permanent, and I hope you will join me in this effort so that Floridians get the tax relief they deserve.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida