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Democrats back House tax cut plan, but wary of Senate talks

The House passed on Wednesday HB 7071, a set of tax reduction provisions, including time-limited sales tax exemptions for sporting events, back-to-school items, hand tools, diapers and other items. This sets the stage for talks with the Senate on the Legislative Assembly’s final tax measure.

Although the GOP-controlled House’s tax cut plans typically include deep corporate tax cuts that typically elicit opposition from some Democrats, this year’s version also included enough measures aimed at consumers to win over all Democrats when the bill passed unanimously.

The bill, for example, provides a one-year moratorium on sales taxes on diapers, under a bill sponsored by Rep. Anna Eskamanian Orlando Democrat, who said it would help low-income families.

“We have families across America who just can’t afford diapers,” Eskamani said.

State economists predict parents will save $35 million during the one-year diaper sales tax holiday and $74.6 million from the one-year sales tax holiday on infant and toddler clothing also included in the bill.

Sales taxes on appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dryers and water heaters will also be exempt for one year, as will impact-resistant windows, doors and garage doors for two years.

The bill also includes a sales tax exemption on children’s books for three months in the summer; a “Tool Time” sales tax exemption on hand tools, power tools and other items from September 3-9; a suspension of the “Freedom Week” sales tax from July 1-7 on tickets to sporting events, movies, museums, state parks, ballets, gym memberships as well as outdoor recreation equipment and pool supplies; and a traditional back-to-school sales tax holiday on clothing, school supplies and personal computers worth less than $1,500.

“Today we passed our strongest tax package ever that will put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Floridians,” the House Speaker said. Chris Sprows, a Republican from Palm Harbor, in a released statement. “We’ve extended existing tax breaks like the popular Freedom Week, Hurricane Preparedness and Back-to-School Holidays, and we’ve introduced new tax breaks to ensure that everyone who lives, works and pays taxes in Florida is the beneficiary of these vacation taxes at a time when daily costs are rising rapidly due to inflation.

Democrats, however, are wary of how the bill could change after talks with the Senate in the final days of the legislative session, which is scheduled to end on March 11.

“I’m just asking that the House hold the line so that we don’t have as big of a corporate tax cut as the Senate did,” the rep said. Angie Nixona Democrat from Jacksonville.

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