FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2015
CONTACT: Morgan McCord, 850.212.5052
Tallahassee, Fla. - Statement from Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog:
"Today, the Florida House Finance and Tax Committee unveiled their plans to cut Floridians' taxes by $690 million this year. I commend the House leaders for their efforts to produce a broad-based tax cut package that will help save money for hardworking Florida families and the businesses that invest in our communities and provide jobs to our residents.
"The tax cut includes a $470 million reduction in the Communications Services Tax, which is levied on all cell phone, satellite and cable tv service, and nonresidential land lines in Florida. Florida TaxWatch has been recommending that this tax be reduced for several years finding that this would be the best way to provide broad based relief. This unfair and disproportionately high tax can be up to 16.29 percent in the Sunshine State, which far exceeds the highest state and local sales tax rate of 7.5 percent. By including this tax cut, supported by both Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Senate, nearly every Floridian will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their wallet.
"Florida TaxWatch also commends the House for including a reduction in the sales tax on commercial rents, which is unique to Florida, and an increased exemption for research and development in its tax package. These two taxes on business inputs hurt the competitiveness of Florida's tax structure.
"The House's tax cut package does not include another Florida TaxWatch recommendation that has been heard in committees that would make the sales tax exemption on manufacturing machinery and equipment permanent. However, since the current tax exemption doesn't expire until 2017, House leaders mentioned that they hoped to include it in next year's tax cut proposal.
"While $690 million in tax relief is welcome news for Florida taxpayers, the Legislature could provide even more needed relief by collecting lawfully owed revenues from out-of-state retailers. Each year, Florida misses out on hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue due to a loophole that severely disadvantages Florida's brick-and-mortar businesses. Penalizing the businesses that are investing in Florida's communities hurts our economy and prevents the Legislature from increasing their investment in needed services, or further reducing taxes."
See the proposal here