National star power graced the Capitol’s 4th Floor Rotunda early Thursday morning, as Grover Norquist headlined a rally advocating cutting Florida’s Communications Services Tax.
The conservative advocate, along with assembled committee chairs from the House and Senate, contends that cutting the tax would lower monthly cellphone and cable bills in the Sunshine State.
Norquist is a longtime political activist who rallies against tax increases nationwide. He founded and serves as president for Americans for Tax Reform and is the man behind the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” which asks lawmakers to sign an agreement not to support tax increases or eliminating tax deductions and credits without offsetting those through other tax cuts.
While a fan of Florida’s lack of state personal income tax, Norquist sees the CST as an “asterisk” on advice he would offer other states to “be like Florida.”
The Communications Services Tax, which Floridians encounter on their phone and cable bills, is the ninth highest in the country.
If the push to cut these taxes sounds familiar, that’s because efforts to cut these taxes have surfaced repeatedly in recent years.
The argument is that these high taxes impede business growth and tax compliance, with 482 different “widely varying” municipal tax rates.
Legislation to cut Florida’s rates was filed earlier this year, and there is some optimism.
Rep. Jason Fischer‘s HB 701 has been rolled into the House tax package. The most optimistic estimates are that it could save Floridians $60 million a year.
Fischer lambasted the “regressive” tax.
House colleague Rep. Randy Fine took issue with the need for preemption in yet another area, spotlighting “500 different rates for kooky little reasons.
Rep. David Santiago said that “$60 million is only the beginning.”
Rep. Byron Donalds likewise was hopeful that the cut would “finally get done this year.”
Sen. Travis Hutson‘s SB 1174 has two committee stops ahead. Hutson didn’t make the media event.
However, Sen. Joe Gruters, the chair of the Republican Party of Florida, showed up in support of the “long overdue” tax cut.
The bills would establish uniform rates for charter counties and cities at 4% and non-charter counties at 2% while reducing the state tax rate.