DeSantis able to tout tax breaks
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
May 11, 2023
TALLAHASSEE --- Florida lawmakers last week approved a tax package that might not give Gov. Ron DeSantis exactly what he requested, but it will provide plenty for him to tout to shoppers and businesses.
Groups such as the Florida Natural Gas Association and Florida TaxWatch quickly praised the package, as it includes tax breaks on such things as natural-gas equipment and commercial leases.
DeSantis on Feb. 1 released budget and tax proposals that didn’t include a reduction in the commercial-lease tax, which businesses have long sought to cut. But at $256 million, a reduction in the lease tax is the biggest break included in a tax package (HB 7063) that lawmakers passed Friday.
Still, most of the nearly $1.3 billion in breaks for next fiscal year are slated to come from sales-tax cuts targeted at consumers. That includes providing tax exemptions on such things as diapers and other items from babies and toddlers.
“The permanent exclusion of sales tax for anything involving raising a baby, so wipes, diapers, clothing, cribs, strollers, all those other things are going to make a big difference for Florida families,” DeSantis said Friday after lawmakers finished the annual legislative session.
House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, tied portions of the tax package to a new law (SB 300) aimed at preventing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
“It's important that once that baby comes into the world, that we recognize, while children are a blessing, not a burden, there's an additional cost,” Renner said. “That's why the governor proposed these massive tax cuts, permanent tax cuts to help families raise children.”
Here is a look at what DeSantis proposed and what lawmakers ultimately approved:
Requested: A pair of sales-tax “holidays” on back-to-school items, including clothes, supplies and personal computers.
HB 7063: The bill includes back-to-school holidays from July 24 to Aug. 6 and from Jan. 1 through Jan. 14. Shoppers will be able to avoid paying sales taxes on clothes and backpacks costing $100 or less, school supplies costing $50 or less and personal computers costing $1,500 or less.
Requested: A 14-day sales-tax holiday on disaster-preparedness supplies around the start of hurricane season.
HB 7063: The bill includes disaster-preparedness holidays from May 27 to June 9 and from Aug. 26 to Sept. 8. Shoppers will be able to avoid paying sales taxes on items ranging from packages of batteries and coolers to portable generators costing $3,000 or less.
Requested: A 15-week sale-tax holiday on a variety of outdoor gear and activities.
HB 7063: The bill includes what lawmakers dubbed “Freedom Summer.” That will provide sales-tax exemptions from Memorial Day to Labor Day on such things as tickets for live music events, sporting events and movies and supplies for boating and fishing. Also, it includes exemptions for children’s athletic equipment and toys.
Requested: Sales-tax holiday on power tools.
HB 7063: The bill includes a tax holiday from Sept. 2 to Sept. 8 on such things as hand tools, power tools, safety glasses, work boots, duffle bags, toolboxes, hard hats, safety vests and ladders.
Requested: A permanent sales-tax exemption for baby and toddler necessities, including cribs, strollers and diapers.
HB 7063: The bill includes a permanent sales-tax exemption for baby and toddler products, including cribs and strollers. It also includes an exemption for diapers and incontinence products for people of all ages.
Requested: A permanent sales-tax exemption for over-the-counter pet medications.
HB 7063: The disaster-preparedness holidays include sales-tax exemptions for over-the-counter pet medications costing $100 or less.
Requested: One-year sales-tax exemption on pet foods.
HB 7063: The disaster-preparedness holidays include sales-tax exemptions for cans of dog food and cat food costing $10 or less. Also, they include exemptions for such things as leashes and cat litter.
Requested: One-year sales-tax exemption on household items, such as laundry detergent and trash bags, costing $25 or less.
HB 7063: The disaster-preparedness holidays include sales-tax exemptions on various household items costing $30 or less.
Requested: One-year sales-tax exemption on dental and oral-hygiene products.
HB 7063: The bill includes providing a permanent sales-tax exemption on dental and oral-hygiene products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss.
Requested: A permanent sales-tax exemption for gas stoves.
HB 7063: The bill includes a one-year sales-tax exemption on gas ranges and cooktops.
Requested: A one-year sales-tax exemption on Energy Star appliances.
HB 7063: A one-year sales-tax exemption on Energy Star appliances.
Requested: A one-year sales-tax exemption on children’s books.
HB 7063: The back-to-school holidays include sales-tax exemptions on “puzzle books and search-and-find books, and interactive or electronic books and toys.”