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Senate readies to pass revamped tax plan

Posted at 6:04 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-02 18:04:24-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Refunds on farm repairs and fuel used in hauling debris from Hurricane Michael have replaced controversial proposals involving charter schools and hospitals in a tax-relief package ready for Senate approval.

The amended package, which also would need House approval before the legislative session ends this week, includes popular sales-tax “holidays” on back-to-school items and for hurricane preparation, along with a business-backed reduction in a sales tax on commercial leases.

Like the House, the Senate supports providing a seven-day holiday at the start of this year’s hurricane season to allow residents to avoid paying sales taxes on supplies ranging from batteries and tarps to self-powered radios and generators.

Meanwhile, the Senate would offer a five-day sales tax holiday to help families prepare for next school year.

The House had proposed a three-day back-to-school holiday. Senator Kelli Stargel has led Senate efforts on the tax package.

“Many of our residents really look to this opportunity, when going back to school and getting prepared for hurricanes," said Stargel. "In addition, it gives our retailers incredible marketing, especially on the hurricanes, to say this is the time, go back and prepare for the hurricane. Buy your equipment, and you’re also going to get a tax advantage.”

The Senate is expected to vote Friday on the package, which Stargel says is now valued at $121 million. The Senate’s proposed sales tax holiday would last from August 2 through the 6 and would provide a sales-tax exemption on clothes costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less and personal computers up to $1,000.