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Florida House May Back Scott’s $1 Billion Tax Cut, With Minor Differences

| January 15, 2016

matt gaetz florida house

Rep. Matt Gaetz is lending his support to the massive tax cut. (Florida House)

The House intends to offer a $1 billion tax-cut package that includes Gov. Rick Scott’s call to reduce a tax on commercial leases and holding a back-to-school sales tax “holiday.”

The package might also include lifting sales taxes for small businesses at the start of the Christmas shopping season, a proposal House members have sought the past two years.

Scott has made one of his top priorities passing $1 billion in tax cuts, imploring lawmakers for support during his annual State of the State address Tuesday. The governor also has undertaken a bus tour of the state this week to push for the tax cuts and a request for $250 million in business-recruitment incentives

But parts of the House package might different from Scott’s request.

In a brief update Thursday, Finance & Tax Chairman Matt Gaetz said he intends to propose a small-business tax holiday — to be offered the Saturday after Thanksgiving — along with the commercial-lease tax reduction and back-to-school tax holiday.

Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said he plans to take the tax-cut plan to the House floor during the fifth week of the 60-day legislative session.

After his committee met, Gaetz said he expects a proposed cut in the commercial-lease tax “will be a centerpiece of the House’s tax plan this year.” A 1 percentage-point reduction in the tax would be projected to account for $339 million in savings for business owners over the next two years.

Asked about Scott’s biggest ticket item, the proposed elimination of income taxes for manufacturing and retail businesses, projected as a $770 million reduction in annual state revenue, Gaetz simply responded, “We’re looking at it.”

Gaetz gave support to Scott’s call to permanently eliminate a tax on manufacturing equipment. The tax was lifted for three years by lawmakers but is scheduled to return in 2017.

“I agree with the governor that if we do not take action to eliminate forever the tax on manufacturing sales and use, that will be a tax increase, and we’re not in the business of raising taxes,” Gaetz said.

The House is expected to be more generous than the Senate with its tax-cut proposals, with the two chambers having to work out differences late in the legislative session.

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, has said the Senate will consider a minimum of $250 million in tax cuts. When asked this week about the issue, he said that “at some point you come down to how much, but also which ones?”

Gardiner added that the governor has made strong cases on tax cuts and economic-development incentives, but that Scott needs to meet with each senator to discuss the proposals.

Last year, the House initially proposed $690 million in cuts before a final package was signed by Scott that topped $400 million over two years. The package featured reductions in taxes on cell-phone bills, cable TV bills, gun club memberships, college textbooks and luxury boat repairs.

This year, senators have expressed concerns about tax cuts coming from permanent, or “recurring,” revenue sources.

Scott’s plan would eliminate more than $1.18 billion in recurring revenue.

Gaetz said his committee is “still working on how to blend” recurring tax cuts with one-time reductions.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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6 Responses for “Florida House May Back Scott’s $1 Billion Tax Cut, With Minor Differences”

  1. Geezer says:

    Matt Gaetz needs a primer on how to apply a Windsor Knot on his necktie.
    If not, there’s clip-on ties widely available.

    For a moment, I thought he was Chris O’Donnell from the movie, Scent of a Woman (1992).
    Hoo-Hah!

  2. David S says:

    Its not going to effect the average homeowner.

  3. Outsider says:

    …unless of course, the “average homeowner” needs a job to pay for his/her average home.

  4. Mark B. says:

    Why is it that this governor and the republican house and senate refuse to acknowledge the $24 Billion debt Florida has? There is a consistent policy to cut taxes and/or spend a budget surplus on tax cuts rather than pay off the debt? They just want to pass the responsibility off to the next administration. Somebody eventually has to be an adult and address the debt instead of showing a complete lack of fiscal responsibility. And for the record, letting a temporary tax cut expire, IS NOT raising taxes.

  5. Rick G says:

    Another prime example of the Florida Rs screwed up priorities. Keep giving tax breaks and sure enough they will be able to drown state govt in a bath tub. What a difference that money could make in expanding medicaid where people’s lives might actually be saved. And yes by expanding medicaid that too can lead to job expansion.

  6. Sherry says:

    The Really Dirty Secret in Florida is CORPORATE WELFARE. . . this from context.com:

    Maybe one of these years, social conservatives in the Tea Party will team up with social liberals in the progressive movement on a grassroots “End Corporate Welfare” campaign. That would make sense, since both political extremes oppose big government handouts to big corporations.

    What makes less sense is that between those extremes, among the centrist majority of people and voters, there’s little alarm over a problem of epic proportions. We middle-class Florida taxpayers lose $3 billion to 4 billion annually to consistently condoned corporate tax evasion, loopholes, and myriad “incentives” eagerly awarded by Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature.

    We pay for it with our sales taxes, property taxes and assorted other government fees, fines and special taxes. Worse still, we pay for it with unfairly underfunded public schools, higher education, hospitals and clinics, after-school programs, senior citizen services, libraries, parks, prisons, and more.

    When a state government lets more than $3 billion a year in private corporate taxes go uncollected, it’s all those public systems, programs and services that suffer — along with all the hard-working and retired people who depend on them.

    Still, there’s no large-scale, broad-based public outcry, no critical mass of angry phone calls and emails to the governor and legislators, demanding an end to corporate welfare.

    If you consider food stamps or other social welfare programs to be government handouts to poor people who show too little personal responsibility and accountability, then why not apply those principles to corporate welfare? Why should your tax dollars cover up for wildly profitable corporations evading their tax responsibilities, or failing to be accountable for the “incentives” they get?

    I get it that the politicians responsible for corporate welfare keep hard-selling a bill of goods about doing what’s “good for small businesses” and “job creators.” They throw in thinly veiled threats that if the handouts stop, businesses will relocate.

    But just because politicians keep hard selling that Big Fish story, doesn’t mean you have to buy it hook, line and sinker.

    Go fishing for factual information and you’ll find the corporations benefiting most from the welfare are overwhelmingly big ones making tons, that don’t need it. You’ll find they’ve “contributed” billions, literally, to politicians perpetuating the crooked system. You’ll find relocation threats to be bogus blackmail. And you’ll find a trail of broken promises, woeful under-performance and minimum wage poverty when it comes to the “job creation” Florida gets in return for welfare.

    So if you get an email or phone call one of these years, asking you to send an email or make a phone call yourself, to help “End Corporate Welfare”…give it some thought.

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