Charlie Crist joins Democratic state lawmakers in condemning corporate tax refunds

Charlie Crist
Crist, Anna Eskamani, Angie Nixon and Carlos Smith call for an end to corporate tax rebates.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist joined several state House Democrats Monday to denounce the $624 million in corporate tax refunds he said should be going to address rising housing costs.

Crist joined Democratic state Reps. Anna V. Eskamani and Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando and Angie Nixon of Jacksonville in a Zoom news conference calling for an end to the tax rebates to Florida’s large, international corporations — offered as a state response to provisions in the 2017 federal tax reform act that shifted some tax burden to states.

It’s an issue Eskamani, Nixon and Smith have trumpeted many times before, starting with the first round of $524 million in refunds in 2020 that the Democrats contend went to only the largest 1% of private companies operating in Florida.

Crist blasted Gov. Ron DeSantis over the issue. Crist seeks to challenge DeSantis in the 2022 General Election, but must first win the August Democratic Primary Election against Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo of Miami, among others.

“The Governor has gotten a lot of news lately for his tough-on-big-business rhetoric. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Crist said.

“Under Ron DeSantis the state’s biggest corporations are, for a second time, benefiting from millions in corporate tax breaks, while working Floridians are given no help whatsoever. This spring, major Florida corporations are set to get a $624 million corporate tax refund while you, the people of Florida, get no assistance to help find cheap rent in your communities, keep up with your utility bills, buy a home, or pay your property insurance on your homeowner policy. Yet he couldn’t care less,” Crist charged.

Neither DeSantis’ executive office nor his campaign immediately responded Monday.

“The bottom line today is that working people need a tax break, not big businesses,” Eskamani said.

Names of specific corporations receiving the tax breaks are shielded from public disclosure. Eskamani said the 10 largest rebates total $105 million, and the 100 largest total $306 million.

Nixon said in the Legislative Session she proposed legislation to “have corporations pay their fair share, something that 28 states already do, including Texas. It was voted down.”

Said Smith, “We’re spending more on issuing corporate refunds than we are every single year to fund pre-K. We’re spending more in corporate tax refunds to the top 1% of Florida corporations than we are on affordable housing. We’re spending more on corporate tax refunds than we are to reduce the waiting list at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, which has 22,000 persons on the list waiting for services.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Sherri Southwell

    April 11, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    I was doing a little bit of research and found that Charlie Crist, when he was the Republican Governor, was more than willing to bend over and give corporations a tax cut. 🤔🤔🤔. Crist truly is…..a flip flop kinda guy!!!

  • Itold Usoh

    April 13, 2022 at 11:50 am

    How would giving individuals $600 million for rent in any way fix the affordable housing problem in the state? That would just add to demand, without increasing supply. Here’s an idea: relax zoning and go more vertical, more dense.

    As for Crist, he used to be reliably pro-business tax cuts. But another flip-flop. More flip flops than at my local Surf Style Shop.

  • just sayin

    April 14, 2022 at 8:04 am

    These are the issues Dems should be campaigning on, not the culture wars. Glad to see it.

Comments are closed.


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