by Bethany Blankley
Republican state lawmakers on Thursday said they introduced what would be the single-largest tax cut package in Florida history.
As Floridians, and all Americans, pay more for every day purchases due to surging inflation and depleted supply stemming from supply chain issues, some lawmakers are seeking to reduce the state’s tax burden.
The package, submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee, would reduce sales taxes and property taxes for some Floridians and expand several tax holidays.
If enacted, the measure would increase the property tax exemption for widows, widowers, blind and disabled persons by 10 times the current cap, and provide retroactive property tax relief for owners of Champlain Towers South Tower properties in Surfside.
“Today we introduced the single-largest sales tax cut package in the history of the state, giving Florida residents back more of their hard-earned money,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said. “We’ve expanded existing tax cuts like the popular Freedom Week, Hurricane Preparedness and Back-to-School holidays, and we introduced new tax cuts to ensure that every person who resides, works and pays taxes in Florida is the beneficiary of these tax breaks.”
Introduced as PCB WMC 22-01, the wide-ranging tax cut package would expand the annual Back to School and Disaster Preparedness holidays from 10 days to two weeks and add new qualifying items. It also would retain the Freedom Week sales tax holiday introduced last year, and add a new seven-day sales tax holiday through Labor Day.
It proposes temporary sales tax cuts for purchases of baby and toddler clothes and children’s diapers, for one year, and on children’s books for three months to encourage summer reading.
Floridians purchasing ENERGY STAR refrigerators, washers, dryers and water heaters, for example, would pay less in sales tax on these items for six months; those who purchase impact-resistant windows, doors and garage doors would pay a lower tax for two years.
“More than sales taxes, our tax cut package provides property tax relief, increases the cap for the Strong Families Tax Credit and assists affordable housing projects,” state Rep. Bobby Payne, R-Palatka, Ways & Means Committee chair, said. “Every Floridian can find a way to take advantage of the provisions in our package.”
The bill would expand flexibility in the timing of the New Worlds Reading Initiative and Strong Families Tax Credit programs. It would increase the annual cap of the Strong Families Tax Credit to $10 million and provide an additional $5 million annually for the Community Contribution Tax Credit program.
By expanding the donations cap for the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program, the bill would encourage investments in affordable housing programs, according to the bill summary. It also would exempt loans from the federal government made in response to a state of emergency from the documentary stamp tax, and expand the list of overseas military deployments that qualify for the deployed service member homestead exemption.
According to the bill summary, the number of tax reductions and other tax-related modifications would directly benefit families and businesses. Homesteaders would see some relief, including widows, widowers, blind, or totally and permanently disabled, who would receive an increased exemption from ad valorem taxes from $500 to $5,000.
Proposed sales tax changes include a 14-day “disaster preparedness” holiday in May and June for specified disaster preparedness supplies for families and their pets; a seven-day “Freedom Week” tax holiday in July for specified recreational items and activities; a 14-day “back-to-school” tax holiday in July and August for certain clothing, school supplies, learning aids, puzzles and personal computers; and a seven-day tax holiday in September for tools and equipment needed in skilled trades.
Other sales tax benefits would include cutting the sales tax from 6 percent to 3 percent for the purchase of a new mobile home.
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