Dorothy Hukill files first tax cut for session, raises corporate income exemption to $75,000

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Port Orange Sen. Dorothy Hukill wants to implement one of Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign promises. The Volusia County Republican Friday filed a bill to raise an exemption on the state’s corporate tax, a move state economists estimated would cost the state almost $9 million.

Under current law, the first $50,000 of a corporation’s income is exempt from the tax. Hukill’s bill would raise the exemption to $75,000. SB 138 for the 2015 legislative session is identical to a measure that died in the Senate Appropriations Committee in May.

According to a staff report from earlier this year, Hukill’s proposal would exempt more than 2,100 corporations from paying the income tax and another 9,300 would see a tax reduction.

“It’s a good bill,” Hukill said in the spring when she pushed for the tax cut. “This affects a lot of businesses.”

Scott has argued for eliminating the tax in both of his gubernatorial campaigns. Supporters say in a global economy a state corporate income tax doesn’t make sense.

Lawmakers balked when Scott proposed eliminating the 5.5 percent corporate income tax when he took office in 2011.  The newly-elected governor settled for raising the amount of income exempted from the tax from $5,000 to $25,000. The next year he got lawmakers to raise the exemption to $50,000 – costing the state’s general revenue fund $2 billion.

However Scott could not get lawmakers to go any further in 2013 and 2014. On the campaign trail this year  the tax came up again when he would explain his plan to attract investors to Florida by reducing the cost of doing business in the state.

Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner provided little insight into their agenda for the next session other than Crisafulli listing water as a top priority and Gardiner warning that money may be tight.

 The 2015 Legislative Session begins March 3. The first week of committee meetings is scheduled to start Jan. 5.