Poverty rises in Florida,
The number of Floridians living below the federal poverty level increased between 2007 and 2009 by almost 550,000 -- equal to the population of the cities of Orlando and Tampa combined.
while tax breaks benefit the wealthy
New U.S. Census figures show about 2.7 million Floridians, or 14.9%, lived in poverty in 2009, a sharp rise over 2007's 12.1%. Among children below age 18, 852,000 lived in poverty in 2009, driving the child poverty rate to 21.3% from 17.1% in 2007.
But while more low- and moderate-income residents of Florida struggle to make ends meet and hundreds of thousands fall into poverty, many Floridians with the greatest wealth receive tax breaks.
The poorest 20% of Floridians paid an average of 13.5% of their income in Florida taxes in 2009, while the wealthiest 1% percent paid 2.1% of their income, on average, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. State and local taxes paid by the poorest 20% of non-elderly Floridians ($10,500 average income) are the second-highest in the nation.
Read Alan Stonecipher's commentary in the Ocala Star-Banner here.