Tallahassee, Fla. - Statement from Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute and government watchdog on the signing of HB 33A, Florida's tax cut package for fiscal year 2015-16.
"While Florida TaxWatch appreciates the Legislature's $400 million tax cut package that included a much needed reduction in the prohibitively high Communications Services Tax, it is disappointing that lawmakers did not provide more relief to the state's hardworking taxpayers. Despite the addition of nearly $300 million in supplemental funding added to the state budget in the eleventh hour last night, lawmakers were unable to meet the Governor's goal of providing $500 million in tax cuts to Florida families and businesses. Given the late addition of so many new projects without increased revenue projections from state economists, it is clear that the Legislature had funding for tax cuts all along.
"While the final tax cut package for the 2015-16 fiscal year is much smaller than an initially anticipated $698 million tax cut proposal from the House of Representatives, it does include many of the original tax cut goals designed to save average Floridians' money. Though substantially smaller than a 3.6 percentage point reduction, Florida taxpayers will see a small 1.73 percentage point reduction in the Communications Services Tax, which is paid on cell phones, satellite and cable tv service and nonresidential landline phone service. Florida TaxWatch research shows that reducing Florida's unfair, regressive wireless cell phone tax, which is the 2nd highest in the nation, is a great option to provide broad-based tax relief to Floridians.
"Our hope is that next year, lawmakers will further reduce the Communications Services Tax to better help Florida families and businesses, reduce the sales tax on commercial leases and address the manufacturing sales tax exemption that will expire in 2017. Permanently eliminating the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment will help foster job growth and development in Florida's highest paying sectors, further diversifying the state economy."