Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro released the following statement on Governor Rick Scott's proposed tax cuts -
"Florida TaxWatch is pleased that the Governor Scott has heeded the recommendations of our research to include a 25 percent reduction (1.5 points) in the business rent tax (BRT), saving Florida businesses more than $454 million a year. As the only state in the union with a tax on commercial leases, Florida is at a clear competitive disadvantage with other states,
"The tax is six percent, but counties have the discretion to levy additional taxes on commercial leases, causing some businesses to pay up to 7.5 percent in additional taxes. Florida TaxWatch research has found that the BRT can add tens of thousands of dollars in additional operating costs and hurts Florida's smaller businesses, impeding their ability to retain employees and expand operations.
"We applaud the Governor for not only making this burdensome tax one of the core issues of his tax package but for proposing additional sales tax holidays for the next fiscal year. Among the holidays are a ten-day back-to-school sales tax holiday, which is the 2nd largest shopping holiday aside from Black Friday, and a nine-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, which garners significant importance after a busy 2016 hurricane season that saw storms make landfall in Florida for the first time in more than a decade. These sales tax holidays are a welcome and tangible way to let Florida taxpayers keep some extra money in their pocket, while being beneficial for both businesses and the state."
The Governor's $618 million tax cut proposal also includes a three-day sales tax holiday for military veterans and a one-day holiday on camping and fishing equipment. Additionally, the Governor is proposing to increase the corporate tax exemption from $50,000 to $75,000, saving Florida businesses $15 million in taxes annually.
The tax cut proposal also seeks to exempt the purchase of college textbooks from the sales tax for the 2017-18 academic year, saving Florida college students more than $48 million, and an exemption of the purchases of books at school book fairs from the sales tax, saving Florida families $3 million each year.
Read more on the business rent tax and the sales tax holiday.