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Diaper tax exemption clears Senate panel

But it might be too late for the bill this year.

Perhaps the third bill filing is the charm.

Senate legislation is finally on the move that, if passed, would eliminate taxes on incontinence products, such as diapers, pads, and liners.

Commerce and Tourism OK’d the bill Tuesday.

The bill (SB 54), filed by Plantation Democrat Sen. Lauren Book, would exempt purchases of “diapers, incontinence undergarments, incontinence pads, or incontinence liners” from Florida’s 6% sales tax.

Book noted that the bill had been filed in 2018 and 2019, joking that she hopes the bill passes before she herself is in diapers (even as term limits likely would come before then).

In support: Florida NOW and the AARP. No one spoke in opposition.

With the Session at its midpoint and several contentious issues ahead before Sine Die, it may be challenging to get through all three committees.

Challenges are greater still in the House.

Rep. Amy Mercado is carrying the legislation (HB 87) again for a second straight year. Thus far, her bill has failed to be noticed for a committee hearing.

While Book presents the legislation as a way to help poor parents and incontinence sufferers alike, states that have instituted such tax breaks don’t see them as a holy grail.

In California, where these tax breaks finally became part of the budget, the Los Angeles Times decried the tax breaks as gimmicks.

“But piecemeal carve-outs in the state’s already convoluted sales tax scheme are irresponsible, not to mention an inefficient way to help people who are struggling to get by,” the editorial board chided.

However, the Senator stressed the economic realities that affected the poor who need diapers, noting that they often are forced to change the diapers less, resulting in medical problems.

Should the legislation be approved, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

And should it not be approved, a refile seems at least possible.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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