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House Tax Bill Faces Uncertain Road in the Senate

February 14th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

The House’s tax plan passed the House Ways & Means Committee Wednesday.

This year’s plan includes some big savings for Floridians.

Most notably, a ten day back to school tax free holiday along with three separate three-day hurricane preparedness tax free holidays.

 

“A Typical back to school tax holiday of three days, consumers save about 30 to 40 million dollars, so if we have a ten day holiday this year that would be significant,” said James Miller of the Florida Retail Federation.

The plan also includes property tax cuts for people who can’t live in their homes after hurricane Irma, help for agriculture,  and nursing homes purchasing generators.

The plan also reduces the business rent tax.

They’re ideas both parties agree with.

 

“And I sure wish I could be voting in favor of that today,” said Democratic Representative Joe Geller during the meeting.

The disagreement is over the inclusion of expansions for private school vouchers.

The legislation allows the names and addresses of the 200 Florida companies that pay the highest corporate income taxes to be made available to groups that run private school voucher programs.

It also allows some sales tax dollars to go towards funding the private school vouchers.

Democrats call it a “Titanic” approach to education, where vouchers act as lifeboats.

 

“But at the expense of all of our students who rely on public education dollars and there will never be enough life boats, like there weren’t on the Titanic,” said Rep. Geller.

Republicans say it simply helps those who need other options.

 

“There are kids in the lifeboat, but there are kids that are drowning. This bill takes a giant leap forward to give every child what they deserve and that is a lifeboat to a better future,” said Representative Paul Renner.

The inclusion of the voucher expansions could become a road block in negotiations with the Senate.

 

“If the Senate does not support this, I think we could get into massive gridlock,” said Representative Joseph Abruzzo.

That could jeopardize the passage of any tax plan this year not something lawmakers want to do in an election year.

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