(Alexandria, VA) – Florida Senatorial candidates Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek, and Marco Rubio have stressed that they represent three distinct political philosophies, and a new study from the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) shows that their philosophies toward the federal budget are distinct as well. Meek would increase federal spending by nearly $98 billion, whereas Crist’s spending agenda would boost outlays by almost $3.5 billion and Rubio would reduce spending by more than $153 billion. However, all three have made many campaign promises whose costs or savings are unknown.
To view Crist's spending analysis in its entirety, click here.
To view Meek's spending analysis in its entirety, click here.
To view Rubio's spending analysis in its entirety, click here.
“In light of our nation’s uncertain economic environment, the way candidates would spend or save taxpayers’ dollars plays a more important role than in other recent elections,” said NTUF’s Senior Policy Analyst and study author Demian Brady. “As a result, it’s crucial to closely examine not only the candidates’ words on the campaign trail, but also to take a close look at how these proposals would actually affect the federal government’s bottom line.”
In preparing his analysis, Brady utilized campaign websites, transcripts of debates, and news sources to gather information on any proposals from the three leading Florida Senate race contenders that could impact the level of federal spending. He in turn verified cost estimates for these items against independent sources such as the Congressional Budget Office. He also cross-checked items through NTUF’s BillTally system, which since 1991 has computed agenda costs for each Member of Congress based on their sponsorship of bills. Among the findings:
- Kendrick Meek’s campaign promises to date would increase annual federal spending by a net of $97.987 billion. Of Meek’s 20 proposals NTUF identified as affecting federal expenditures, 13 would increase outlays, one would reduce them, and 6 have costs or savings that were impossible to accurately determine.
- Charlie Crist’s campaign agenda consisted of just 11 items – three to increase spending, none to decrease it, and eight with unknown effects. The net annual impact would nudge the federal budget upward by $3.476 billion.
- Marco Rubio’s platform of 32 planks would, in its entirety, produce a net annual savings of $153.292 billion in the federal budget. However, of these, seven would raise expenditures, five would lower them, and the large remainder – 20 – was without quantifiable estimates of cost or savings.
- Major undertakings in Meek’s fiscal platform include an estimated $51.54 billion for a green jobs and technology program (with a cap-and-trade system), $37.5 billion for a new jobs plan, and a $2.7 billion infrastructure package.
- Items on Crist’s agenda include a $2.837 billion energy package and a $609 million education improvement incentive program.
- Rubio’s proposals ranged from a freeze on certain discretionary outlays (savings of $108.414 billion) to addressing the Veterans Administration’s claims backlog (cost of $796 million).
- All candidates had proposals whose costs could not be readily tabulated. Meek and Crist, for example, called for immigration reforms that could impact social services outlays to some degree. Rubio’s call for providing incentives to states on health and education reforms could involve federal costs, but lacks specificity to calculate an amount.
“Considering the contentious policy debate over the current federal budget, voters in Florida deserve to know the future direction in which these candidates would take the nation’s finances. Fortunately, NTUF’s analysis provides Floridians with just the right facts to gain insight into the spending agendas of each contender,” concluded Brady.
NTUF’s analysis of the Florida candidates’ agendas is one of several the group is currently conducting. Contests are being selected on factors such as geographic diversity, political significance as rated by outside groups and analysts, and the level of specificity in the candidates’ platforms.
NTUF is the research and educational arm of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit citizen group. Note: The line-by-line cost analysis of the Florida Senate candidates’ spending agendas, and more information on BillTally, are both available online at www.ntu.org.