In 1930, 85 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment to institute an inheritance tax, or a tax imposed on an estate for the privilege of transferring property at death. The next year Florida lawmakers passed legislation to implement the amendment and impose inheritance taxes. The decision came after the federal government began allowing a credit against federal estate taxes for state death taxes paid. Due to the 1926 Florida real estate crash and the Great Depression just a few years later, inheritance taxes offered policymakers a much-needed revenue stream to spend on public services for all Floridians. At the same time, as a wealth tax, Florida’s inheritance tax offered a way to reduce income inequality in the state. Wealth taxes are crucial tools to address generations of systemic injustices that have made it harder for Black and Latina/o communities and Floridians with low income to access the best-paying jobs, quality education, and other opportunities to build wealth.
1931 – Adoption of Inheritance Taxes
Migrant family at their shelter - Winter Haven, Florida, circa 1939