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Service Tax Revisited

February 25th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

It has been 21 years since Florida’s experiment at taxing services failed and was  repealed, But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, rising property taxes has an independent commission taking another took at what items aren’t now taxable.

Hear it here: Service Tax Revisited

Skyboxes and Ostrich Feed get a lot of attention for being untaxed. But the tax code lists 246 specific exemptions.

Boats that come for 20 days aren’t taxed but longer slip rental is.

Newspapers are also taxed, but the ad inserts inside aren’t.

Rising property taxes have a little known group named the Taxation and Budget Reform commission looking at ways to eliminate some exemptions. Jim Scott says eliminating the school tax is a top priority.

“It would be a tremendous 35 percent in Broward County and I happen to know, reduction across the board for all property taxes,” Scott said.

Dry Cleaning is not taxed. But changing that would not matter to Amanda Hammerli.

“I don’t dry clean enough for it to even bother me,” Hammerli said.  “So I wouldn’t care either way really.”

But the people behind the dry cleaning counter worry.

“I think everybody would start cleaning clothes at home, to be honest with you,” dry cleaning manager Yvonne Smith said.

Taxing bottled water would raise enough money to hire a thousand teachers and pay them all 34,000 dollars a year.

Randy Miller was in charge of the state’s revenue department the last time a services tax was tried.

“We did it 20 years ago. It’s a failed experiment,” Miller said. “We need to be looking 20 years forward, not 20 years backward.”

Voters may have the final say, but trading taxes on somebody else for lower property taxes could be appealing to many.

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