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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Governor Scott to make personal plea for tax cuts at Senate committee today



With his $1 billion tax cut plan very much in jeopardy, Florida Gov. Rick Scott will make a rare trip to a state Senate committee meeting today to make a personal appeal for what he’s declared to be one of his top priorities this year.

Scott is scheduled to be at the Senate Finance and Tax committee at 2 p.m. to outline a tax plan that includes the elimination of corporate income taxes, reducing taxes on commercial leases and slashing the sales tax on manufacturing equipment.

Governors rarely testify in person at legislative committee meetings. And Scott particularly has long been criticized from not working more closely with the Florida Legislature. But Scott last month showed he was trying to change that by personally appearing at a House committee unannounced to advocate for his tax plan.

The Republican-led Florida Legislature is expected to approve some tax cuts this year during its regular session, which starts on Tuesday. But legislators have publicly questioned whether the state can affort the size of Scott’s tax cut plan and whether it favors businesses to much.

Scott’s tax plan includes a sales tax holiday for back to school shopping and for preparing for hurricane season. He also proposes continuing a tax cut for college textbooks. But those reductions total only about $119 million, versus $770 million that would go to business if the state cut income taxes on manufacturing and retail businesses. The cut in taxes on commercial leases would be about $339 million.

Regardless of the early lukewarm reception, Scott is being aggressive in touting his tax cut plan. In addition to his two rare personal visits to legislative committees, Scott is beginning a more than $1 million statewide television ad campaign to promote the tax cut plan. And, Scott is planning a statewide bus tour this week to promote job gains that the state has made since he was elected and he began cutting taxes. And on Tuesday, the tax cut plan will almost certainly be a part of his annual state of the state address to the Florida Legislature.

Scott’s message to the Senate today will likely be similar to what he told the House last week. Then he told lawmakers that the tax cuts are essential to help diversify the economy. But cutting key taxes for businesses, it can attract new industries to Florida, Scott has argued.

"The tax reduction package that I have proposed is basically an investment to diversify the economy, to help small and large businesses and create more jobs," Scott told the House Finance and Tax Committee.

[Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2016 11:49am]


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