What tax reform means for Florida

Our economy is thriving right now. Business investments are strong, wages are growing — all thanks to Republicans’ pro-family, pro-growth tax reform.

Our national unemployment rate is at its lowest levels since the Clinton administration, which is expected to lead to even more pay bumps for workers.

The CBO recorded that April was the “best month in history” for the U.S. budget with a surplus of $218 billion.

And, according to the Pew Research Center, “Americans’ views of national economic conditions continue to improve, with the share saying the economy is in good or excellent condition now at its highest point in nearly two decades.”

Can you believe that Democrats want to completely reverse all of this? Nancy Pelosi even said it was “accurate” that she’d raise taxes if given the opportunity.

What would they be rolling back? The opportunity for a better life. To share what tax reform means for families, workers, and small business owners in their home state, representatives from Florida took to the House floor and highlighted what they’ve been hearing and seeing. For example: a typical middle-income family of four in Florida will see a tax cut of $2,069 because of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. More on that is available at FairandSimple.gop.

Check out what they had to say:

Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL)

“In its April report, the U.S. Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent, the lowest level we have seen, Mr. Speaker, in 18 years. The tax cuts and simplification of our tax code that we passed only a few months ago, along with our President’s regulatory reforms and pro-growth policies, are creating jobs and restoring confidence in America’s economy.”

“Just last month, Mr. Speaker, I toured Magellan Transport Logistics, a service-disabled, veteran-owned logistics company in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. They are adding at least 100 new jobs in the next 5 years and were able to acquire a new 47,000- square-foot facility. During the tour of the facility, we were told by the company’s CEO that this expansion is a direct result of the tax cuts that the business received from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. This is just one example of the differences that these cuts are making to improve the way of life for countless Americans in Florida and across the Nation. I have heard from many small businesses throughout my district who are thriving unlike never before because of these landmark reforms.

“As the Representative of Florida’s Fourth District, I am proud to represent the historic city of St. Augustine. St. Augustine is known around the world, Mr. Speaker, as the oldest city in America. It is full of unique family and community-owned businesses, including the St. Augustine Distillery. Located in the site of Florida’s oldest ice plant, the St. Augustine Distillery’s opening in 2014 marked the first time that spirits have been distilled and created in northeast Florida since Prohibition. As a young business facing more than their share of regulatory challenges, the St. Augustine Distillery was relieved, to say the least, when the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act was signed into law. The distillery announced shortly after the bill’s passage that they would be using their savings to make further investments in their employees and increase their equipment and inventory, creating new local jobs and hiring additional staff to manufacture, market, and sell their products.

“Small businesses are an important part of my community and our economy, but they aren’t the only ones that have been given relief under the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Mr. Speaker, last September, northeast Florida was devastated by Hurricane Irma. The storm surge was over 5 feet and dropped more than a foot of rainfall. Our community saw some of the worst flooding in over 100 years along the St. Johns River, and many areas are only now recovering. Because of the Federal tax savings that they received, Tampa Electric, Florida Power & Light, and Duke Energy Florida all announced that their customers would not receive a rate increase for power restoration costs associated with these companies’ response to the hurricane damage. With the money that they would have paid in corporate income taxes, these companies were able to recover the cost of restoring power and repairing the damage after Hurricane Irma, which has spared thousands of Floridians an increase in their energy bill this year.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

“Mr. Speaker, I cannot say how proud I am to be a Floridian taking the floor this evening to talk about the great value that the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is bringing to the folks in the Sunshine State. I am particularly proud that Florida was prepared for this uplift in the economy as a consequence of the work of Congress. Since Governor Scott took control of the Governor’s mansion, our State has reduced over 50,000 regulations. We have cut taxes over 50 times…For so long, while we had been cutting taxes and fighting for a more competitive economic ecosystem, the Federal Government had thrown a wet blanket over the economy. With a corporate tax rate that was one of the highest in the world, Florida companies weren’t able to leverage the great talents that were coming out of our state to go and compete because the rules were stacked against us as a consequence of bad policies in Washington.

“I am so proud that during the 115th Congress we were able to pass the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act so that states like Florida could realize the great benefit of conservative leadership. In my district in north Florida, where we have got a number of hardworking folks particularly in the manufacturing center, there is a new sense of economic optimism and prosperity that is sweeping across our State and my region.

“The National Association of Manufacturers’ 2018 first quarter Outlook says that 93.5 percent of manufacturers now have a positive outlook regarding the growth of their businesses. This is entirely consistent with the feedback I have gotten from manufacturers such as Ascend Materials and American Elite Molding, where we are competing with the best around the world, and we are winning and growing. Manufacturers in my district have said that one consequence of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is that they are able to reinvest in their facilities: buy new, cutting-edge equipment and grow and expand their physical plant. This creates jobs and better competition—absolutely outstanding.

“Energy cost is something that impacts our small businesses and families alike. As a result of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, Gulf Power, the independently owned utility in my district, is cutting rates so that ratepayers will see savings of over $100 million. That is $100 million plowed right back into the economy in my district, right back at the kitchen table at the end of the month. Certainly, it is of great value that we have been able to see that result for our families and for our businesses.

“Publix is another great business in our state. They are increasing pay for employees, allowing employees to be able to buy into employee stock option programs at greater frequency.

“Mr. Speaker, whether it is the largest businesses in our state or the smallest, whether it is families that have been prosperous or families that are looking to climb that next peg on the economic ladder, I can say with great sincerity that the feedback as a consequence of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act has been entirely positive. Folks are more optimistic. Ultimately, that will ensure that the State of Florida is able to participate in a more competitive and productive economic environment going forward.”

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

“In Florida’s Third Congressional District alone, there are several businesses—ranging from large corporations like the Walmarts and Wells Fargo to the small mom-and-pop businesses, such as The Flood Insurance Agency in my district—who are giving back to their employees in our local community. The Flood Insurance Agency in my hometown of Gainesville, Florida, gave $1,000 bonuses to each of their 17 full-time employees. $1,000. That is $17,000 reinvested into our community because of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act that the Republicans passed and President Trump signed into law.

“Additionally, CenterState Bank, which is headquartered in Davenport, Florida, but has branches in five cities across my district, gave out $1,000 bonuses to non-officer employees. These bonuses went to roughly 700 people across the State of Florida. Let me do my math: 700 times $1,000. I believe that is $700,000 being infused into the Florida economy because of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.

Cintas, which has a location in Alachua, Florida, gave all employees of over a year of employment $1,000 bonuses and gave $500 bonuses to all employees who have worked there less than a year.

“While $1,000 may seem like crumbs to some in Congress…we find that that is not the truth when we get out to the district. These bonuses are invested in the people of Florida, not to mention an investment of over $700,000 into the Florida economy. And this is just from three businesses listed above, not including Walmart raising wages for 67,500 employees—that is just in Florida—or the bonuses Lowe’s gave to 21,000 employees, just in Florida.

“When that money goes back to the people, they know how best to spend that, not government. It was interesting: As I was touring through our district, as we often do when we go back home, I have never had this happen—this is my third term in Congress—I was at an event, a ribbon-cutting, and I had two unsolicited people come up to me, and they thanked us for the Republicans’ Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. This happened on multiple occasions. One individual came up to me, again, this was unsolicited—we know, as Members of Congress, that this doesn’t happen often—but he goes: I want to let you know that because of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act I am receiving an extra $120 per paycheck, and I get paid twice a month. That is $2,880 in crumbs he is getting.

“Another individual at the same event came up and said—and they didn’t know each other. This was so neat, because he came up to me and he said: I just want to let you know, because of the tax cut, I am getting an extra $500 a month, $500 a month times 12 months. That is $6,000 a year. He was excited. I was excited for him.

“A local trucking company we went by in the small town of Starke, he had out on his billboard: Beginning January 15, all drivers, all employees, get a 15 percent pay raise. And when I talked to him, he said it was because of the tax bill, the tax reform, that we did. These are, again, unsolicited. Another individual called me up, he has got an air-conditioning and heating contract company, he told me that he gave out an extra $74,000 in bonuses due to the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.”

“Again, some from the other side of the aisle claimed that this tax bill was nothing but mere crumbs, mere crumbs, and only benefiting the wealthy. The examples I just read off are from the Joe-lunch-box type, people out there working every day, five days a week, just the average moms and dads who, at the end of the month, are sitting around their dining room table wondering if they are going to have more month than money at the end of the month. They are realizing that they have extra crumbs at the end of the month, and they thanked me. They came up to me, they thanked me. They thanked the Republican Party. They thanked President Trump for signing this into law. And they thanked us for the extra crumbs.”