Apr 28, 2023 - Politics

Florida House unanimously passes 1.4 billion tax relief package

Illustration of two people shaking hands on a giant stack of money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Florida House unanimously passed a sprawling $1.4 billion tax package Thursday, replete with an exhaustive list of savings for consumers and businesses.

Why it matters: The relief package, now Senate-bound for final approval, offers over $200 million in extra savings compared to last year's $1.2 billion tax plan, the largest in Florida's history.

Zoom in: If passed, the legislation would create a permanent tax exemption for diapers and expand sales tax holidays for back-to-school items, disaster preparedness supplies, and equipment for skilled trades.

  • The bill would fulfill Gov. Ron DeSantis' promise to make gas stoves tax-free, a nod to a misleading talking point embraced by conservatives who suggested the White House was after the kitchen appliance.
  • It would also freeze local communication services tax rates for three years, making progress on the governor's all-but-forgotten pledge to lower the cell phone and cable TV tax in 2018.

What they're saying: "Every single year, we've been doing good things. This year, we hit a home run," state Rep. Dianne Hart (D-Tampa) said. "I could not be more pleased with having two back-to-school holidays. I'm excited about it. I know that this will mean a lot to many parents."

  • "That was the litmus test — does this provide relief to the consumer?" state Rep. Stan McClain (R-Ocala), who filed the bill, said. "I am a believer that anytime you cut taxes, you create economic opportunity for other people."

Be smart: Some retailers exploit sales tax holidays by raising their prices or watering down promotions, according to the Florida Policy Institute, a progressive-leaning research organization.

What's ahead: The Senate will iron out the differences between their version of the tax package and the House's in the coming days of the legislative session, which is slated to end next week.

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