Florida’s sales tax holiday on school supplies, clothing, shoes and other select accessories is this weekend–starting at a minute after midnight Friday, Aug. 3, through midnight Sunday, Aug. 5.
Expanded from three days last year, the tax holiday has drawn added attention after Florida experienced hurricanes in 2016 and 2017 after a decade’s calm.
Tax holidays don’t increase buying but merely concentrate it around specific dates. They’re regressive. They’re more political than useful: in Florida, the Legislature turned down Gov. Scott’s request for 10 days.
Initial estimates point to a reduction of General Revenue receipts of $21.7 million in 2017-18, with a $52.1 million recurring impact, and a reduction of local government revenue by $5.6 million in 2017-18.
Most of the $2-million-a-year sales tax revenue the county commission voted in almost two years ago is spoken for–a new jail, a new sheriff’s HQ–but a few million dollars remain spendable. The administration is proposing a long wish list that commissioners will now rank.
For Floridians who are supposed to pay the taxes but haven’t, the announcement of Amazon’s entry into the state’s brick-and-mortar retail landscape could mean about $80 million a year in sales taxes, according to one business lobbying group.
The confirmation by Amazon.com that it will build a pair of massive “fulfillment” centers along the Interstate 4 corridor means that sometime in the next two years Floridians will have to start paying sales taxes on purchases from the online retail giant.
Senate Finance and Tax Chairwoman Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange’s proposal could cut $250 million a year from state revenue. Business leaders want the tax, currently at 6%, eliminated altogether as Gov. Rick Scott travels the state on a tax-cutting tour.
The Hillsborough County Commission is the first of several local communities expected to throw tax-supported incentives at Amazon, as the usually anti-tax Florida TaxWatch declared support for online sales tax collection once Amazon starts doing business from a physical location in Florida.
In a statement issued Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration implied that if Amazon were to locate in Florida and begin collecting taxes, that would amount to a tax increase on Florida residents who use the popular shopping portal.