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Simone Marstiller

Court to DirecTV, Dish: Pay up in taxing case

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An appellate court on Wednesday ordered satellite-television companies to pay legal and other costs in a long-standing tax case they lost earlier this year. After DirecTV and Dish Network sued, the Florida Supreme Court in April decided satellite TV can be taxed at a higher rate than cable TV.

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Simone Marstiller takes herself out of Attorney General contention

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Former appellate judge and Republican Simone Marstiller said on Facebook she will not run for Attorney General in 2018. “NOT running for AG,” she posted Monday night. “Holding that office has been a dream of mine for a long time. “But I’ve reluctantly concluded that running for the office just isn’t financially feasible for me,” she added. “Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all of you for encouraging me and pledging your support. I am blessed beyond measure to…

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Supreme Court OKs taxing satellite TV higher than cable

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Satellite TV

Satellite-television service can be taxed at a higher rate than cable TV, the Florida Supreme Court decided Thursday. Satellite companies had challenged the state’s 16-year-old Communications Services Tax (CST), which now taxes cable service at 4.92 percent and satellite at 9.07 percent. Those concerns, led by DirecTV, said that difference was unconstitutional and asked for a refund. But the high court reversed the 1st District Court of Appeal’s 2-1 decision, which said that taxing the two services differently is unconstitutional. Then-1st DCA Judge Simone Marstiller, in her…

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Teachers’ union: “Who can challenge the Legislature on voucher program?”

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classroom school vouchers

The Florida Education Association (FEA) vented its “frustration” Wednesday after the Florida Supreme Court declined to take up a suit challenging the constitutionality of what’s been called “the nation’s largest private school choice program.” The court decided not to hear a challenge to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program, created in 2001, though – as one former judge noted – its order “doesn’t say (it) lacks jurisdiction.” (Main story here.) That had Joanne McCall, the statewide teachers’ union’s president and the lead plaintiff in the case, asking, Who can…

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Matt Gaetz joins applicants to Rick Scott for CRC position

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The list of applicants to Gov. Rick Scott for a seat on the state’s Constitution Revision Commission continues to grow, now including conservative lawmaker Matt Gaetz. The panel, which reviews the state’s constitution every two decades, is scheduled to convene 30 days before the beginning of the Legislature’s 2017 regular session on March 7. As governor, Scott will choose 15 of the 37 commissioners and selects its chairperson. That means the Naples Republican will indirectly influence the retooling of the…

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Florida Supreme Court hears debate on TV tax

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Should satellite-television service be taxed at a higher rate than cable? The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides Wednesday. Satellite TV companies, including DirecTV, want the court to uphold the 1st District Court of Appeal’s 2-1 decision last year, which said that taxing the two services differently is unconstitutional. The state’s Revenue Department and Florida’s cable TV industry want it overturned. At issue is the state’s communications services tax (CST), which charges “direct-to-home satellite service” at a total rate of 11.44 percent. Cable…

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Appellate court rules communications services tax unconstitutional

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This morning the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee’s Southwood district ruled that the state’s “communications services tax” — currently undergoing revision in the Legislature’s budget talks — is unconstitutional. Judge L. Clayton Roberts, writing for the majority in a 20-page opinion, ruled that the CST contravenes state law because it unfairly favors cable providers and discriminates against satellite television in Florida, whose operations are largely based outside the state, violating the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. “A state law…

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