Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Monday pledged he would spend an additional $1 billion on public education with a plan that would increase Florida’s corporate tax to pay for it.
“When I’m governor, we’ll invest $1 billion in our public schools, students, and teachers and put the president’s disastrous tax giveaway to work. Under my “Fair Share for Florida’s Future” Plan, we’ll ask our richest corporations to invest a fraction of their windfall under this new law into our state’s education and workforce,” Gillum stated in a news release issued Monday by his campaign. “For too long, Florida Republicans have forced working people to pay too heavy a tax burden instead of the richest corporations — meanwhile, my Democratic opponents have stood by silently. I will put an end to that as governor in 2019.”
Gillum’s plan calls for an increase in the corporate income tax rate on large corporations to 7.75 percent, contending that few of them are paying taxes now, and those that do pay only pay 5.5 percent. Given the $6.2 billion he said Florida corporations are saving through the federal tax cuts, he is calling the increase “Fair Share for Florida’s Future,” echoing the “Fair Share Tax Program” plan put forth in 1970 when then-U.S. Sen. Reubin Askew ran for governor.
Gillum’s plan would call for adding at least $100 million into the the Public Education Capital Outlay Fund for public schools construction; at least $400 million to pay raises for public school teachers; at least $250 million in early childhood education programs; and at least $100 million for vocational training.
Gillum faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and Winter Park businessman Chris King seeking the August 28 Democratic nomination to run for governor. The leading Republicans are U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
In a white paper he posted on Medium, Gillum, contended “our richest corporations will still pay billions less in taxes next year. We just ask that less than a fifth of that money go to work for Florida families.
“By adjusting our state corporate tax level to a modest 7.75 percent, which still allows corporations in Florida a massive tax cut and keeps our rate more than 1 percent lower than California, we will be able to recoup at least $1 billion back from the richest corporations and put it where we need it most — investing in our future,” he added. “My plan calls for rebuilding our public schools, paying teachers a minimum starting salary of $50,000, investing in early childhood education programs, and investing in SHOP 2.0 and vocational training to help get workers the training they need for higher paying jobs.”