Florida bill could give residents $1.2B in tax relief

(The Center Square) — The Florida Legislature could be poised to pass a massive $1.2 billion tax package bill that would give residents both permanent and temporary relief

Senate Bill 7062 is a tax package that incorporates the tax cut proposals by Gov. Ron DeSantis that could provide Floridians with more over $3 billion in tax breaks if he signs it into law.

The bill would provide permanent sales tax exemptions for diapers and incontinence products, clothing, baby and toddler products, learning aids, oral hygiene, firearm safety devices and machinery and equipment used to produce natural gas.

The bill has already been approved by the Senate Finance and Tax Committee on April 18 and will be considered Tuesday by the Appropriations Committee.

Under the measure, a back to school sales tax holiday would happen from July 24 to Aug. 6, and include sales tax breaks personal computers, school clothing and puzzles. This tax-free period would occur again in January.

From May 27 to June 9, Florida could have a week without sales tax collections for disaster preparedness. This would include dry pet food, battery packs, self-powered radios, waterproof sheeting, gas and diesel.

The “freedom summer” initiative would run from May until September and would discount prices for concerts, theater performances and events. Camping gear, water skis, fishing supplies, sunscreen and sunglasses are only a few items that would be sales tax exempt under the plan.

DeSantis is also giving relief to commuters who pass through toll booths on a regular basis refunding up to 50 percent of the cost, which can cost hundreds of dollars per year.

Skilled workers would get a sales tax holiday for seven days in September and items that would be included are hand tools, power tools and batteries, work gloves and safety glasses, work boots and protective coveralls.

The bill also would give property owners incentives to install a greywater system on their properties, as part of Florida’s effort to conserve as much fresh water as possible, refunding up to 50 percent of the cost.

Thoroughbred horse breeding and racing would also get a boost after $27 million was appropriated to be used by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to encourage the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses and racing them at thoroughbred tracks in Florida.

The Main Street Historic Tourism and Revitalization Act would also be created, which would provide a tax credit for qualified expenses that are incurred while restoring a certified historic building or structure. Previously, any historic building that was owned by private individuals or a for-profit corporation was not eligible to receive grants.

Several local taxes are required to be placed on the ballot in a general election within 48 months before they are either increased or renewed by referendum and would be prohibited from being placed on a ballot more than once in that time period.

During the Senate Committee hearing on Finance and Tax, SB 7062 was met with praise and had unanimous bipartisan support, while it was adopted as a committee bill.

Committee chair and state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, said that he believes there is room to give even more tax cuts.

“I believe we have a good work product, there is obviously an opportunity to negotiate with the House, hopefully through those negotiations…we can find more tax cuts and give more back,” Ingoglia said.