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Florida House committee approves $100 million plus tax package

Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 18:22:26-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A pair of sales-tax “holidays” for storm preparation and back-to-school shopping and a tax cut on commercial leases headline a tax package approved by a key House panel Tuesday.

The $102.4 million package was approved by the House Appropriations Committee, and is now ready for consideration by the full chamber.

The package includes a back-to-school holiday period in early August that would provide an estimated $33 million in savings for shoppers.

The other tax holiday --- providing discounts on such supplies as batteries, tarps and portable generators would be timed around the June 1 start of the annual hurricane season.

The biggest feature of the House proposal is a business-backed reduction of the sales-tax rate on commercial leases, which is currently 5.7 percent. It would be reduced to 5.35 percent.

Sponsor Bryan Avila, says the proposal will provide much needed tax relief for Floridians.

“This will be the largest reduction in the business rent tax, since its implementation," said Avila. "That is something we should be proud of, in terms of providing that tax relief, particularly to the small businesses of our state that are the backbone of our economy.”

However, several Democrats including Representative Joe Geller have expressed concern that the package goes beyond tax reductions.

The measure also includes language that would seek to ensure charter schools receive a portion of tax dollars from voter-approved referendums.

“I want to vote for this. I want to support your package, but you have a poison pill," said Geller. "Why can’t that be done separately?”

The House tax package is being set up for conference talks with the Senate, which has been rolling out potential tax-reduction measures in individual bills.