Weekend sales-tax holiday tucked into Legislature’s $400 million tax-cut plan

Sales-tax holidays round out Legislature's tax-cut plan
Sales-tax holidays round out Legislature’s tax-cut plan

The $400 million tax-cut package being wrapped up by state lawmakers is highlighted by a property-tax cut for homeowners and businesses — but also fleshed out with a modest sales-tax holiday.

The property tax proposal eats up $290 million of the proposal — which is dramatically different than the $1 billion in business-oriented cuts sought by Gov. Rick Scott, who campaigned for months for the reduction plan.

Instead, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced a package that reduces the property-tax rate for schools by about 6 percent, plugging in state money as a replacement.

The tax-holidays shaping up include a back-to-school clothing costing $60 or less and supplies $15 or less.

 

Scott celebrates 63rd birthday — but day may not be a piece of cake

Gov. Scott liked to show his Navy colors when campaigning last year.
Gov. Scott liked to fly his Navy colors when campaigning last year.

Gov. Rick Scott celebrates his 63rd birthday today — with plans to host a Veterans Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Florida Capitol.

Scott’s milestone day, however, may not be a piece of cake. The governor’s $79.3 billion budget proposal, unveiled last week, also is scheduled for dissection by the House Appropriations Committee and his $1 billion tax-cut plan also gets its first legislative review by the House Finance and Tax Committee.

Scott, a Navy veteran, will welcome the 2015 class of inductees into the Veterans Hall of Fame in an event in the Cabinet room.

Scott proposes — but will Legislature go along or dispose of spending plan, tax breaks?

Gov. Rick Scott getting fitted with a microphone before speaking to the Manufacturers Association of Florida recently in West Palm Beach.
Gov. Rick Scott getting fitted with a microphone before speaking to the Manufacturers Association of Florida recently in West Palm Beach.

Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his $79.3 billion budget proposal this week — but soon it will be the Legislature’s turn to crack into it.

A host of legislative panels are slated next week to review Scott’s spending plan, topped by the full House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday and its Senate counterpart the next day. Scott budget director Cynthia Kelly is the likely presenter on behalf of the governor’s office.

Panels covering education, transportation and economic development, health and human services and other areas also get to dissect Scott’s plan over the course of the week.

Scott’s $1 billion tax-cut package, which is directed chiefly at slashing business taxes, is scheduled to be reviewed Tuesday by the House Finance and Tax Committee.

The House actually proposed an even bigger tax-reduction plan than the almost $700 million pitched by the governor last year, only to have both efforts scaled back by the Senate to the final $429 million mark.

Scott proposes $79.3 billion state budget, topped by tax cuts, more school spending

Gov. Rick Scott proposed a $79.3 billion state budget for next year
Gov. Rick Scott proposed a $79.3 billion state budget for next year

Gov. Rick Scott proposed a $79.3 billion state budget for next year, highlighted by a $1 billion tax cut proposal and a record high-level of per-pupil spending.

The proposal is roughly a $1 billion boost from the current year’s spending.

“We’re clearly headed in the right direction,” Scott said. “Now, we’ve got to invest that money well.”

Scott unveiled his 2016-17 blueprint at a Jacksonville sign company, underscoring a provision of his business-oriented tax-cut plan that includes elimination of the sales tax applied to manufacturers’ equipment purchases.

“We love businesses,” said Scott, in laying out highlights of the budget backed by Harbinger Sign Co., employees in a large warehouse.

Scott included in his proposal public school funding that would allow for an average $7,221 per-pupil spending for Florida’s 2.7 million school children. That would top the previous, pre-recession record by $95, reached during 2007-08.

The Republican governor also proposed a record amount last year, only to have lawmakers scale back his plan. His tax-cut package a year ago also proved more robust than what ultimately became law.

Scott’s proposal is a recommendation to the Legislature, which actually crafts the state budget.

Next year’s session begins in January.

Scott on tax-cut tour stops at Riviera Beach sign company

Gov. Scott to be in Riviera Beach today on tax-cut tour
Gov. Scott to be in Riviera Beach today on tax-cut tour

Gov. Rick Scott plans a stop today at a Riviera Beach sign manufacturer as part of a barnstorming tour to promote his proposed $1 billion package of tax cuts.

Scott is slated to visit Baron Signs at 1 p.m., on the second day of what is set as a week-long tour. A $76.9 million annual cut beginning in 2017 would go to manufacturers shielded by a proposed permanent elimination of a sales tax on equipment purchases.

The Legislature in 2013 erased the tax for three years. But Scott is pushing state lawmakers next year to have the levy taken off the books.

Scott’s $1 billion proposal is mostly aimed at businesses and would kick-in over the next two years.

 

 

Scott launches tour today touting $1 billion tax cut plan

Gov. Rick Scott at last week's Manufacturers Association of Florida Summit.
Gov. Rick Scott at last week’s Manufacturers Association of Florida Summit.

Gov. Rick Scott today kicks off a week-long tour today to promote the $1 billion-over-two-years tax break package that he unveiled last week in West Palm Beach.

Scott has appearances planned today in Melbourne, Clearwater and Miami.

Later in the week, the governor plans to hit four more cities, including a return trip to West Palm Beach, to tout the business-focused cuts he wants Florida lawmakers to approve in the legislative session beginning in January.

“We’ve got to figure out how to diversify our economy. We can’t just be a service economy,” the Republican governor told a crowd of about 150  at a manufacturers’ conference last week at the West Palm Beach Marriott. “We’re going to cut our taxes this year by over $1 billion. This will be the year of the manufacturer and this will be the year of the small business.”

Scott’s sales pitch for the package is likely needed.

He wanted $673 million in tax cuts this year but lawmakers approved a more modest series of cuts, totaling $429 million. The package was led by a consumer-friendly trimming of the tax on phone and television services that the governor touted.

The Senate refused to go along with the more robust tax-cutting plan, insisting that $450 million in taxpayer dollars go to hospitals to offset a reduction in federal dollars.

Hospitals expect to lose more federal money this year. That could prompt a reprise of a battle over tax cuts versus spending which forced lawmakers into a June special session before settling on a state budget.