Updated: Oct 13, 2020
For a system that is designed to promote fairness among taxpayers, the Flat Tax would unintentionally achieve the opposite. In theory, it would make everyone pay equal rates, but it actually places the lower and middle classes at a disadvantage when compared to the wealthy. The Flat Tax doesn’t work as advertised, and countries which have implemented the tax have seen major economic downturns since the 2008 recession.
During last week’s congressional debate between Byron Donalds and Dr. Cindy Banyai, the Republican nominee cited the possibility of a Flat Tax when asked about ways to potentially improve the economy. His reasoning behind the suggestion was that “taxation should be simple. It should not be convoluted.” Unfortunately, his proposal would actually complicate the system, extending the already-sizeable gap between the upper and lower classes.
Taking ten percent from someone struggling to put food on the table is vastly different than taking ten percent out of a billionaire's pockets. While having everyone pay equal tax rates sounds fair in theory, actually implementing that idea would cause further economic hardship on those who can least afford it, with the wealthy coming out in front once again.
Donalds went further when outlining changes that needed to be made to the tax code by endorsing the removal of deductions and exemptions. These incentives work to reduce taxable income, often by offering tax breaks for charitable contributions. According to the National Council on Nonprofits, nonprofit organizations make up 7.2% of all jobs in Florida, and arts organizations alone contribute $140 million dollars a year to the economy in Lee County (Arts & Economic Prosperity, 2015). The removal of deductibles and exemptions in the tax code would discourage philanthropy, crippling this industry that is so vital to our community and our economy.
These non-taxed contributions include donations towards churches, non-profit schools and hospitals, and numerous organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and local organizations such as the Alliance for the Arts, CROW, and the Naples Children Education Foundation . To cut the tax benefits of these contributions would mean taking money straight out of these organizations that provide essential services and contribute to the vibrancy of our community.
As Election Day approaches, it is important to recognize which side plans to act in your best interests by focusing on issues that matter to you and our community. While Byron Donalds and the Republican Party try to aid the wealthy on Wall Street at every opportunity, disenfranchising the middle-class voter at every turn, Dr. Cindy Banyai is looking out for all of us. She will fight for economic equality, working to build a system that works for all Floridians, not just the elite. It is long past time for real, fundamental change in our society.