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Bill to exempt diapers from sales tax clears second Senate panel

It’s got one more stop in Appropriations before heading to the floor.

A bill that would exempt purchases of diapers and incontinence products from the state’s 6 percent sales tax is headed to its final committee stop.

The bill (SB 60) was unanimously cleared Thursday 8-0 by the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. No companion bill has been filed in the House, however.

Under the legislation, purchases of “diapers, incontinence undergarments, incontinence pads, or incontinence liners” would be exempt from the tax.

Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat, filed the bill back in November.

On Thursday, Book testified to the committee that the bill would provide “much-needed relief to families caring for our state’s most vulnerable, including infants and the elderly.”

She gave particular focus to the relief it would provide low-income families: “For these families, the cost of diapers can present impossible choices. ‘Should we pay the electric bill or buy diapers?’ “

That aim was echoed by Sen. Dennis Baxley, a member of the committee who voted in favor of the legislation.

“I think targeting some tax relief to an area that affects those most struggling in trying to stay independent and trying to stay self-supporting is a very good target,” Baxley said. “I support the bill and I also think it’s good tax policy.”

Last year’s version of the bill got through one committee in the state Senate before dying.

It was advanced by the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism in January and has one more stop in the Appropriations Committee before being available for the Senate floor.

If approved by the Legislature, the exemption would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

“We’re behind the curve on this one,” Book argued. “There are 15 other states across the country that currently exempt diapers from tax. And I just want to make Florida the 16th.”

The committee also backed a proposal to hold a 10-day holiday period in early August in which sales taxes would be lifted on clothes, school supplies and electronics (SB 576). Lawmakers on the panel also backed a bill to allow investments in rural areas to earn insurance-premium tax credits (SB 298).

Some material from The News Service of Florida is used in this post.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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