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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crisafulli outlines session priorities, including $1B tax cut



Expect plenty of agreement between the House and Senate this week as the two chambers work together to pass three priority bills.

Opening the 2016 legislative session Tuesday, Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said the first order of business would be to pass his signature legislation on water quality. They’ll also take on Senate President Andy Gardiner’s priority bill for children with disabilities. And they’ll take on school choice, including an expansion to Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts.

And then the House will work to push its own agenda, including some ideas that the Senate hasn’t been as quick to support. Among them, cutting health care regulations, including Certificate of Need. And, Crisafulli announced Tuesday, a $1 billion tax cut package.

That’s what Gov. Rick Scott has been asking for, including making rare visits to both chambers’ Finance and Tax committees. The Senate has been more reticent, pitching a more modest, $250 million proposal.

But Crisafulli said the House’s tax proposal may not be exactly what the governor wants. For example, he said he’ll use state economist Amy Baker’s revenue estimates, rather than the governor’s higher estimate, which would allow for permanent cuts to taxes on manufacturers.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, will take the lead on developing the House’s plan, set to be released in the coming weeks.

“The important thing is to not eat our seed corn,” he said. “Our tax cuts can’t just be tax cuts for the purpose of cutting taxes. We have to look strategically at how we can make sure that our tax cuts continue to contribute to a growing economy.”

Crisafulli also endorsed a bill to stop local government regulation of ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft. That’s not likely to pass in the Senate.

“Yet, we must not confuse ‘our principles’ with ‘our preferences,’” Crisafulli said. “For if we simply insist on ‘our way or the highway,’ we will fail the people of Florida."

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 10:57am]


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