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As Florida millionaires tout more giving, many are cutting back, survey says

A majority of Florida millionaires feel a responsibility to help society's less fortunate and believe they should give a substantial amount to charities, according to a survey released Tuesday.

However, the online polling by PNC Wealth Management found, that desire to share doesn't mean a bigger injection of wealthy largesse will be flowing to the needy this year.

About 24 percent of wealthy Floridians surveyed said they personally plan to cut back on the amount they give to charity, 49 percent plan no change, and only 15 percent intend to increase their giving.

Survey takers focused on the positive findings.

"It is encouraging to see that millionaires, considering today's economic headwinds, recognize a personal responsibility to give back," R. Bruce Bickel, senior vice president of PNC Wealth Management, said in a statement.

Among the findings:

• Fifty-seven percent said they believe they bear a special responsibility to help the less fortunate and 59 percent advocate giving substantial sums to charity.

• The number of wealthy Floridians who donated more than $25,000 to charity more than doubled, from 8 percent to 19 percent.

• Most millionaires agreed with billionaire Warren Buffett's call for the superwealthy to pay more in taxes and give more to charity. But only 6 percent said they're able to help in the way Buffet suggests. About 58 percent said they agreed but were not "in the same league" as the oracle of Omaha.

• More than three-fourths of the millionaires said they were "much better off compared to parents at this same age." But only 13 percent believe their children will be better off when they reach the same age.

• There's little consensus on policy. About 36 percent support cutting taxes as the single best way to improve the economy, while 17 percent suggest raising taxes on the wealthy would be the single best action.

• The millionaires are largely united in at least one area: only 1 percent think the U.S. government is functioning well. Eighty percent agree that the government has serious flaws in how it's working.

The eighth annual survey polled 1,097 millionaires, including 108 millionaires in Florida. The Florida slice of the survey had a sampling error of plus or minus 9.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or jharrington@tampabay.com

As Florida millionaires tout more giving, many are cutting back, survey says 01/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:06pm]

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