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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The tax cut that history shows Rick Scott is most likely to get from Legislature



As Gov. Rick Scott spends his second day on the road touting his proposed $618 million tax cut plan, one of his less controversial ideas is already getting support in the Legislature.

State Sen. Keith Perry, R-Alachua, has already filed a bill to exempt school supplies and clothing from sales taxes in early August, a key back-to-school shopping period. In Senate Bill 490, Perry calls for a 10-day sales tax break period, just as Scott did on Wednesday during stops in Jacksonville, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. Last year, a similar tax break was only 3-days.

Scott was scheduled to be in Riviera Beach and Orlando Thursday to continue to highlight his tax cut plan that already is getting a chilly reception from the Legislature.

The bulk of Scott's tax cut plan is aimed at business. Scott's plan would cut a 6 percent sales tax that businesses pay on leasing property to 4.5 percent in 2018. That would cut taxes by $454 million for businesses, but lawmakers say economic forecast show that would lead to budget deficits without big cuts or more revenue elsewhere. The sales tax free shopping holiday would take $72 million out of the budget, according to Scott's office.

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, who chaired the Senate budget committee for the past two years, said Scott's level of tax cuts is not likely without a major change in the state revenue picture or substantial cuts in programs.

"Without some good (revenue) news or substantial cuts elsewhere in the budget, that's going to be difficult," Lee told the Times/Herald Wednesday. "The Legislature's going to basically have to change its historic spending patterns if it's going to come up with that kind of money."

The Legislature has refused to cut the tax on commercial leases twice in the last three years when Scott has made similar requests to cut the tax.

Meanwhile, the back-to-school shopping tax has traditionally more acceptable to state lawmakers, though in various forms. Since 1998, the state has had a sales tax free shopping week in all but 4 years. It's been as long as 10-days and as short as three.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 26, 2017 12:15pm]


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