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Florida 8th-worst for Income Inequality

June 13, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando -- Florida has the country's eighth-highest rate of income inequality.

New analysis from Pew Trusts’ news service, Stateline, shows only six states and the District of Colombia are worse. 

Most Central Florida counties are near the U.S. average, but Orange County is in the top 20th percentile for inequity.

Jake Grovum wrote the income installment of the Stateline Legislative Review series.  He says some people worry the wealth gap hurts the economy.  “The argument is often something along the lines of put more money in the pockets of these people, and it’ll help boost the economy.  If they don’t have money, they won’t be spending,” he says.

Grovum says the recession exacerbated income inequality, so Florida’s job growth could help it.  Without income tax, he says, Florida can’t put as much money in its social safety net.  It also can’t offer tax credits for the working poor.

He adds that Florida’s wealth could make the data more extreme.  Collier County’s income gap is 24 – out of over 3,000 counties.  There, middle class residents live near multi-million-dollars homes.

 

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