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ASK THE GOVERNOR
For Release Monday, May 14, 1962
It's time to "Ask the Governor," when Governor Fari\l Br
answers questions based on letters and comments from Flo --citizepU
QUESTION: Governor, one account of your recent press c ee
statements on taxation had you taking issue with Comptroller Ray
Green over the need for improving the balance of economy in Florida.
Specifically, strengthening the tax structure by making it less
dependent on the fluctuating income from tourism. Just what is your
position in this area?
GOVERNOR: Well, first of all let me say that I don't think I
took issue with Comptroller Green on anything. I think we are both
in hearty agreement on the necessity for improving the balance of
the economy in Florida and I think we are doing it. It seems to me
that the tourism promotional efforts and the industrial promotional
efforts and the very great agricultural development efforts that are
being carried forward simultaneously will do just that. It is my
position that as we expand the economic base the tax structure will
become more stable and more sound and this, I think, is completely
consistent with what the Comptroller has in mind.
QUESTION: How about this business of taxing tourists? One
inference that was drawn from the discussions of tourism and taxation
was that more taxes might be piled upon Florida's visitors. Should
visitors have to pay a special premium to enjoy Florida?
GOVERNOR: Well, they do pay a premium, of course. They pay a
7-cent gasoline tax, a cigarette tax, a liquor tax, a gambling tax
and a sales tax. Now, they pay all of these things. If they want
to go fishing, they buy a fishing license. If they want to go
hunting, they buy a hunting license. If they want to go to any
attraction, they pay for it. This is the way it ought to be. The
question is whether or not you have put such a burden on tourists as
to make Florida less attractive to them than it ought to be to draw
them here. Now, I think the evidence is that we have not. That as
a matter of fact our tax structure is eminently fair as concerns
tourists. Otherwise, we wouldn't have the tremendous growth in our
tourist industry that we are enjoying.
QUESTION: Are not all of these taxes that you mentioned also
paid by the residents of Florida?
GOVERNOR: Yes, of course they are. Now, I think to be honest
we ought to recognize that, let's say our tourist is in Florida for
two weeks, naturally he spends more time in his automobile than the
average person does. That means he pays more tax. He spends more
for his meals in restaurants and, therefore, he spends more sales
tax there. He stays in a rented room and he pays the rent tax --
the sales tax on rental that the citizen of Florida doesn't do -- and
so the tourist does pay more for the time he is here and the money he
spends than the citizen does. But he pays on a basis which, I think,
everyone will agree is a fair one.
QUESTION: Apparently, from what you say, he would not pay more
than would a Floridian who is visiting in a state with a tax structure
comparable to ours?
QUESTION: How about the rising costs of providing the services
that tourists need -- the things that the state and the state
government and the local governments must provide. Are these a major
factor in determining the state's budget, for example?
GOVERNOR: I think, of course, they go into it. You take in
the business of taxes on gasoline I mentioned, the tourist pays more
taxes on gasoline because he travels more. He uses more roads, too.
And because of that, it is necessary that we build more roads,
particularly in the highly developed and metropolitan tourist areas.
You can go right down the line whether it is a highway patrolman or
what the facilities are, Tourism requires that we have to have
inspectors for our restaurants and for our hotels and so on. So it
is right and fair on a basis of benefit received, as well as other
indices that the tourist pay the bills that are presently assessed
QUESTION: Do you think there could ever be found a happy medium
in taxation in a state whose economy is divided as is ours between
tourism, agriculture and industry?
GOVERNOR: I think we have a very nearly achieved it as is,
Thank you, sir.
If you have a question of general interest you would like
Governor Bryant to answer on this program, jot it down on a post
card and send it to "Ask the Governor," the Governor's Office,
Tallahassee, or in care of this station which has made available
this time in the public interest. Be with us next week when again
we "Ask the Governor."