TALLAHASSEE — A sales tax “holiday” on things like school clothing, hurricane supplies and tools and a state gasoline tax suspension in October topped a package signed Friday by Governor Ron DeSantis.
The measure (HB 7071), passed by the Legislature in March, will reduce state and local revenue by $804.3 million in the coming fiscal year, according to a House staff analysis. The total will increase to around $1.1 billion when future impacts are taken into account.
In addition to holding traditional tax holiday periods before the school year and at the start of hurricane season, the package will eliminate taxes for all or part of the 2022-23 fiscal year on items such as baby clothes, diapers, children’s books, Energy Star appliances, impact resistant doors and windows, new mobile homes and entries to Formula 1 Grand Prix races and the Daytona 500.
“This bill comes at an opportune time as families grapple with rising costs for everyday expenses like gas, food and clothing,” said the Secretary of the Ministry of Children and the Family, Shevaun Harris, during an appearance with DeSantis in Ocala. “I know that every penny saved counts.”
Heads of state touted the election year package would help consumers.
“The tax relief you’re going to see is going to be breaks for really critical needs, like gas, diapers, disaster supplies, tools for skilled trades, recreational activities, etc.”, a said DeSantis. “And so families can save for the things that really matter to them.”
DeSantis, whose youngest child is 2, highlighted tax breaks for diapers and baby clothes during a bill-signing ceremony at Sam’s Club in Ocala. The ceremony included a stack of diaper Huggies and several families.
“You have to do the layers, there’s no getting around that,” DeSantis said.
While most of the tax package won’t come into effect until July 1 or later, two parts of it will begin this month.
A sales tax exemption on children’s books will run from May 14 to August 14. Additionally, a tax holiday will begin May 28 on hurricane supplies.
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The holiday, which will run through June 10, is expected to save shoppers $25.6 million. They will be able to avoid paying sales tax on a range of items, from battery packs and radios under $50 to generators up to $1,000. Hurricane Season Holidays will include pet supplies for the first time.
The second tax holiday, expected to result in savings of $70.6 million, will be for what lawmakers have dubbed “Freedom Week,” which runs from July 1 to July 7. Shoppers will be able to avoid paying sales tax on things like tickets to concerts, movies, ball games and museum tours, as well as some equipment for outdoor activities.
A back-to-school tax holiday will begin July 25 and last until August 7. Buyers will be able to avoid paying sales tax on clothes and shoes that cost $100 or less, school supplies that cost $50 or less, and personal computers with tag prices of $1,500 or less.
A new tax holiday, with projected savings of $12.4 million, will run from September 3-9 and has been dubbed the “tool time” holiday. During this period, people will be able to avoid paying sales tax on certain tools and other work equipment.
In the month before voters head to the polls for the November election, they will also have a break at the gas pump. The package includes suspending the state gasoline tax of about 25 cents per gallon in October. Lawmakers have decided to use $200 million in federal stimulus funds to offset lost gas tax revenue, which goes to transportation projects.
Committee on AgriculturenotDemocratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried released a statement on Friday that many of the tax breaks were aided by federal stimulus funds.
“This tax relief package was made possible by the US bailout, which provided Florida with more than $10 billion in federal funds,” Fried said. “Working Floridians could not access these benefits without the hard work of President Biden and the Democrats who drafted and passed this landmark legislation.”