FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2018
CONTACT: Damien Filer / 850-212-1858 / Damien@ProgressFlorida.org
ST. PETERSBURG — Florida’s working families who have been waiting to see the benefits of the Trump-GOP tax cuts will be waiting awhile longer: their promised tax cuts will likely be eaten up by higher gas prices just as they hit the road for the Fourth of July holiday and by higher health insurance and prescription drug costs.
“Florida families have heard the rhetoric about the new Trump tax law but they aren’t seeing the savings in their bank accounts,” said Mark Ferrulo, executive director of Progress Florida. “The wealthy and big corporations have plenty to be thankful for but the rest of us who are facing rising gas prices and health insurance premiums are left wondering, what’s in it for us?”
It is estimated that increases in regular gas prices since January 2017 are costing Floridians about $280 more a year, on average—eating up a large chunk of the tax cut a typical working family will receive. And many families will be spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars more for health insurance due to spikes in premiums for Affordable Care Act plans, much of which is due to the repeal of a key provision in the Trump-tax law used to finance tax cuts benefiting the wealthy.
Meanwhile, six months after passage of the Trump-GOP tax law, Florida’s wealthiest one percent will be watching fireworks at the country club in great comfort knowing that their Trump tax cuts will provide them with a $98,000 average tax cut a year, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
According to figures from GasBuddy.com, the price of a gallon of regular gas in Florida has risen from $2.34 in January 2017 to $2.70 in July 2018, a jump of 36 cents or 15%. This works out to around $5.40 more for a weekly fill-up of a 15-gallon tank, or about $281 a year. Over the same period, gas prices in Miami rose by 34 cents, or $265 more a year; gas prices in Tampa rose by 36 cents, or $281 more a year; and gas prices in Orlando rose 40 cents, or $312 more a year. See gas prices table here.
Gas prices aren’t the only rising household expense facing Florida families. Health insurance premiums are headed up too due in part to Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations, the Trump-GOP tax law did away with a key provision of the ACA requiring people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. This is helping to cause Florida insurance companies to hike average statewide premiums by 8.8% for ACA plans on the individual market next year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
By doing away with the requirement to buy insurance, the Trump-GOP tax law saved $314 billion (p. 2) that is being used to partially pay for tax cuts mostly for the wealthy and corporations, such as prescription drug firms and health insurers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this change will cause premiums for ACA family plans to increase 10% a year for the foreseeable future. In Florida, the average family premium could go up by an estimated $1,860 due to this change. It will also cause 13 million people to lose health care coverage by 2025—that translates to 873,000 Floridians.
Besides giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy, the Trump-GOP tax law is giving a gusher of tax breaks to big oil companies and prescription drug companies. Seventeen oil and gas companies already received one-time tax cut benefits of $25 billion this year. Four of the biggest oil companies are estimated to be getting a tax cut of $15 billion over the next decade. America’s top 10 drug companies are saving $76 billion in taxes on their $500 billion in profits stashed offshore, as they rake in record profits and continue to price gouge customers and public health programs.
“Lawmakers need to declare their independence from President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress by joining the effort to repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness with 14,000 online supporters and activists in Florida. “If they don’t the real fireworks will be at the polls this November, as voters will express their anger at politicians who favor Big Oil and drug companies over working families. We need strong health and retirement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not more tax breaks for the wealthy and hugely profitable corporations.”