A Florida sales tax quiz: What would Cookie Monster do with a gas stove? | Editorial
Or, here is why cooking with gas might be a tax-free gas, gas, gas.
Gov. Ron DeSantis pulled out signs in support of gas stoves at a January news conference on drug reform in The Villages.
Gov. Ron DeSantis pulled out signs in support of gas stoves at a January news conference on drug reform in The Villages.
This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.
Published Feb. 3|Updated April 21

Remember the famous Sesame Street sorting game “One of these things (is not like the other)”? Big Bird, Cookie Monster or another character would show kids four items — three animals that can fly and a cow, or three red firefighter helmets and a silver top hat. And then they would ask in song, “Can you tell which thing is not like the others?” We have some similar questions about the sales tax breaks that Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed in his budget this week, though we promise to skip the singing.

Sales tax breaks are easy to like — they let us keep more of our own money. Plus, the state is flush with funds these days, so generally we support the tax exemptions the governor proposed. But one of his suggestions caught our eye.

Which proposed tax-free item is not like the others?

  1. Baby strollers
  2. Baby wipes
  3. Baby cribs
  4. Gas stoves

Did you spot it? Here’s another shot: Which cooking device would not be taxed under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget?

  1. An induction stove, which uses magnetism to magically heat pots without any kind of manly open flame. Sounds kind of liberal, doesn’t it?
  2. A portable fire pit, which is cool and primeval because it burns wood in the macho great outdoors, one of the many places where we openly bear arms. But liberals might sit around it and roast marshmallows, sing kumbaya and discuss Marxist theory.
  3. A plain-old electric stove, which is boring (most Floridians cook this way) and owning one doesn’t “own the libs” or say anything interesting about politics at all.
  4. A gas stove, which uses open flame and burns fossil fuel from when man and dinosaur roamed the Earth together. Yeah, liberals might use it to get the perfect Béchamel sauce, but come on, what red-blooded Floridian doesn’t enjoy cranking the gas knob to full blast? Oh, the sound of that whoosh!

Still having trouble? Maybe this one will help. Which gas-powered device could soon become sales tax-free in Florida?

  1. A Toyota Prius. Sure, it burns fossil fuel but try “rolling coal” with one.
  2. A leaf blower. Smoky, obnoxiously loud and smelly. Pointlessly blows stuff from one place to another, mostly early on a weekend morning. Burns gas and oil. Hmmm, wait a minute, maybe it’s not too late to add another item to the tax break list.
  3. A Ford F-150 pickup. Yes, it’s America’s best-selling truck, but why reward the company that makes that new-fangled electric version?
  4. A gas stove.

Last chance: Until just a few weeks ago, which of these common household items had not become part of the “woke wars”?

  1. Incandescent light bulbs. They consume far more electricity than their more modern equivalents, but why use something that will help slow sea level rise and cut down on air pollution when we can stick with technology invented the same year Wyatt Earp arrived in Tombstone, Arizona?
  2. Electric cars. They, of course, scream “California liberal” like few other products, though what to make of Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk supporting DeSantis’ potential presidential run?
  3. Rooftop solar panels. They help homeowners send less money to large utility companies. Ban them!
  4. Gas stoves. Talk of phasing them out arose recently after a study outlined problems with leaking methane and health issues. Last month, DeSantis said: “You are not taking our gas stoves away from us. … We are fighting back.”

In the Free State of Florida, bans are anathema, the work of overzealous and out-of-control elitists hellbent on undermining our democracy — unless of course they involve books, diversity programs, African American history, transgender athletes, college courses, vaccine mandates, mask wearing, women’s control of their own bodies and common sense. Those bans are just fine. Come to think of it, how has that rabble rouser Cookie Monster gone unchecked on Florida’s airwaves for so long? Better watch your chocolate chips, Cookie. And make sure you’re baking with gas in a tax-free oven.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Conan Gallaty. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.