Florida lawmakers Friday approved a wide-ranging package that will trim corporate-income taxes and give a break in August to back-to-school shoppers, reports Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.
The package (HB 7087), which now goes to Gov. Rick Scott, includes an estimated $77.9 million in tax breaks during the 2012-13 fiscal year — a total projected to become nearly $120 million in future years.
“Tax relief, all right,” a happy Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said after his chamber voted unanimously to approve the bill. The House followed by passing the bill 117-1, with only Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, dissenting.
The bill includes tax breaks for numerous types of businesses, ranging from manufacturers to firms that do aircraft repairs and maintenance. Some of the breaks are narrowly tailored, such as a tax exemption on electricity used by packing houses for fruits, vegetables, beef and pork.
The most-visible part of the bill to consumers will be a “sales-tax holiday” from Aug. 3 through Aug. 5. Such holidays have long been popular with retailers and shoppers, who are able to buy clothes and other goods without paying sales taxes.
Under the bill, the exemption will apply to items such as clothing, wallets and bags valued at $75 or less. It also will apply to school supplies that cost less than $15.
The package also would give a boost to Scott’s effort to shrink — and possibly eliminate — the state’s corporate income tax.
Currently, state law exempts the first $25,000 in income from the tax. The bill would increase the exemption to $50,000, providing an estimated $9.9 million in tax savings during the 2012-13 fiscal year.