Senate Tax Package Benefits Families and Job Creators
Senate Tax Package Unveiled in Final Days of Session
On March 11, 2020, the Senate released its initial version of the 2020 tax package in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The proposed Senate tax package mirrors many provisions of the House tax package and is set to be heard on the Senate floor tomorrow, March 12.
The Senate tax package contains the following Florida Chamber-backed provisions:
• A reduction in the Florida-only business rent tax from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent;
• A reduction in the state communication services tax by 0.5 percent;
• Reauthorization of the Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund program which was set to expire on June 30th without legislative action; and
• Back-to-school and disaster preparedness sales tax holidays.
Additionally, the original Senate proposal included a simplified version of the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) compared to the House tax package, and would have allowed only certain qualified counties to use TDT revenue for water quality improvement projects. An amendment in committee completely removed the language, ensuring TDT funds are only available for what’s currently allowable under state law, such as tourism marketing.
Finally, the Senate tax package contained a rewrite of the House’s proposal to recalculate the property-tax exemption for non-profit hospitals. The Florida Chamber and its members are still reviewing this language to ensure that hospitals are not needlessly targeted.
Initial negotiations with the House shaped today’s tax package, but several unplanned amendments means more work remains between the two chambers to agree on a final product.
Additionally, Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Rob Bradley warned that the final allocation of money for the tax package may be reduced as budget negotiations continue in the final days of session.
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Florida Chamber Encourages Shoppers to Save Money This Weekend
Beginning this Friday, August 1 and lasting through Sunday, August 3, many Florida residents will take advantage of our state’s annual “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday. The Florida Chamber of Commerce encourages shoppers to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase select items tax free.
“During this sales-tax holiday families will be able to save money on school supplies and other back-to-school items that will set students up for success in the upcoming school year,” said Governor Scott in a statement. “We are proud to offer this sales-tax holiday as it will result in direct savings for Florida families as they prepare for the school year.”
According to the Florida Department of Revenue, no Florida sales tax or local option tax will be collected on:
- Sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $100 or less per item,
- Certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item, or
- The first $750 of the sales price for computers and certain computer-related accessories when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.
Considering Florida’s general sales tax rate is six percent, shoppers can expect to save at least that percentage, and potentially more considering local-option taxes, on all applicable items.
“The sales tax-free holiday is an excellent opportunity for families to stock up on the supplies their children need for the coming school year,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “I appreciate Governor Scott’s dedication to ensuring families have this much-deserved break.”
Florida’s tax free shopping weekend is an ideal reminder of the Florida Chamber’s fight for e-fairness and the need to protect Florida businesses by closing the Internet sales tax loophole that lets government pick winners and losers.
During the 2014 Florida Legislative Session the Florida Chamber of Commerce proposed closing the Internet sales tax loophole in exchange for lowering other state taxes, such as the communication services tax that is charged to every cell phone bill in Florida. Unfortunately, our efforts were unsuccessful. Last year, renowned economists Art Laffer and Donna Arduin conducted a study showing that closing the online sales tax loophole could lead to more than 107,000 new jobs in Florida and 1.5 million new jobs nationwide in the next decade.
At the Florida Chamber, we will continue to work for tax cuts that put more money back into the pockets of Florida’s families.