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Tax Break Holidays in Jeopardy

April 1st, 2008 by flanews

The hunt is on at the state Capitol for ways to spare schools and social services deep cuts in a tight budget year, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the cash shortage has some questioning whether the state should continue holding sales tax free holidays.

School supplies and back to school clothing costing less than 50 dollars
could be tax free again during the first week of August, or not. A tight
budget has some suggesting the popular tax break is too expensive.

This is clearly one of those years we cant afford it. I mean, were doing such grave damage to education this year. Were doing such grave justice to the civil justice system, the criminal justice system, said state Senator Steve Geller.

A week without sales tax on school supplies costs the state 40 million
dollars. And local governments another nine million. The sales tax free holiday cleared a House Council. It is almost certain to clear the full House. It has the support of the Speaker.

Its one of the few benefits that we pass every year that actually helps the working folks, the ones that are struggling to make ends meet, especially now. To have the ability to buy back to school clothing without having to pay sales tax is of enormous benefit to them, said Rubio.

Governor Charlie Crist is also giving the tax holiday a green light.

I know its going to turn around soon. The sun always comes up in
Florida, said Crist.

Despite the support, as the budget crisis deepens lawmakers are asking if buying critical medicine for the sick is more important than saving a few dollars on school clothing. A June tax free week for hurricane supply shopping is also being considered this year. Combined, the two tax free weeks cost the state more than 70 million dollars.

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