Gov. Scott will seek $1 billion in tax cuts from state Legislature
Seeking to fulfill a re-election campaign promise he made to voters, Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Legislature for $1 billion in tax cuts in 2016. The figure is nearly double the projected $635 million surplus from growth in tax collections.
Scott promised voters in 2014 he would cut taxes by $1 billion over a two-year period in his second term, but he can't do it alone: lawmakers have to agree. Scott last year asked lawmakers for $673 million in tax relief, which lawmakers trimmed to about $400 million.
Scott's tax cut proposals, first reported Thursday by AP, would include permanent repeal of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, other business-friendly tax cuts and two separate sales tax holidays, one for back-to-school items and one for hurricane supplies.
Scott has previously advocated a "record" increase in public school spending, which relies heavily on higher property tax bills for Florida homeowners and businesses, and he has called for a $250 million fund, spread over a three-year period, to increase spending on incentives to attract employers to Florida.
The governor's call for a hefty package of tax cuts could collide with renewed demands for spending increases in state agencies. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Department of Children and Families and Department of Corrections have all experienced widely-publicized problems of high turnover blamed on low pay, crumbling equipment and key staff shortages. Rank-and-file state workers have not had an across-the-board pay increase in Florida for the past seven years.