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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida House omits centerpiece of Gov. Rick Scott's $1 billion tax cut plan



The centerpiece of Gov. Rick Scott's tax cut plan may have already been dealt a fatal blow as state legislators instead are considering a wider range of sales tax reductions on everything from guns to smartphones in an election year.

The House rolled out a tax cut proposal this week that has almost $1 billion in reductions like Scott has requested, but it omits the Republican governor's biggest idea: elimination of corporate income taxes on manufacturers and retail businesses. Scott has made that tax cut a central part of his push to diversify the state's economy. That tax cut alone would cost the state $384.9 million next year, and $770 million annually after that.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, the chairman of the House Finance & Tax Committee, praised the governor's overall tax cut plan, but he said he was looking for cuts that would "hit Main Street a lot harder."

Under the initial plan Gaetz outlined, the House would have four different sales tax holidays, including:

• a 10-day reduction for back-to-school shopping this August;

• a reduction on the taxes for hunting and fishing gear, including firearms, ammunition and fishing poles for one day in August;

• a reduction to encourage people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving;

• and a cut in sales taxes on technology, including computers, tablets and cellphones.

Those cuts would amount to $116 million in sales tax reductions next year. The House plan also includes reductions in taxes on commercial leases and continues a sales tax exemption on manufacturing equipment — ideas championed by Scott. In full, the House tax cut plan deals with 33 different taxes and would cost the state a total of $989 million, according to the House budget staff.

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[Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:21pm]


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