Bills to tax Internet companies doing business in Florida resumed their treks on Thursday as separate measures began to move in the Senate, reports the News Service of Florida. The Senate Finance and Tax Committee approved the introduction of a proposed committee bill, HB 7206, which would set up a mechanism to begin collecting sales tax from out-of-state, online vendors that do not currently pay state sales tax. Sales tax collections would be returned to taxpayers by way of sales tax holidays or other routes. “I have shopping centers that are half empty,” said Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami. We’re not talking about mom and pops, we’re talking about all kinds of large box stores.” The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee is slated to take up a similar bill, SB 1514, later Thursday. That measure, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert, does not earmark tax collections, which would instead revert to the state’s general revenue fund. States around the country are grappling with how to glean tax revenue from Internet companies, which have sought protection under the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause. Several lawsuits are pending.
Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.