The House is introducing a “Freedom Week” tax holiday to void sales taxes on outdoor gear and activities during the week of July Fourth.
House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Ways and Means Committee Chair Bobby Payne say it’s to encourage people to go outdoors as the state emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Coming out of what could be seen as our most difficult year in recent memory, I can’t think of a better way to encourage the celebration of our freedom and how far we have come — both as a nation and state,” Sprowls said in a statement. “This Fourth of July tax holiday is all about encouraging people to safely enjoy Florida’s greatest asset, the great outdoors.”
The holiday would run July 1 through July 7 and would cover sporting and live music events, state park admission, gym dues and movie theater tickets for events held between those dates. It would also waive taxes on products like tents, sleeping bags or even sunscreen purchased that week.
“The Freedom Week bill encourages every Floridian to celebrate our freedom this Independence Day by enjoying the outdoors with family and friends — tax-free,” said Payne, a Palatka Republican.
Payne introduced the new tax holiday during a Ways and Means Committee meeting Friday. The tax holiday package (PCB WMC 21-01) also included two holidays offered in past years, the back-to-school holiday Aug. 6 through Aug. 12, longer than in past years, and the disaster preparedness holiday May 28 through June 3.
The package also incorporates tax exemptions on independent living products and extends a tax exemption on certain data centers.
Tampa Democratic Rep. Dianne Hart said the tax package was inclusive of both Democrats’ and Republicans’ priorities.
“I couldn’t understand why we were letting people go to concerts, and I started thinking, ‘Oh my God. We’ve been housed and caged for a year!'” Hart said. “Yes they do need some outside activity, and I get that.”
“We hope this tax holiday will serve to unite us as Americans and help us create new memories with our friends and loved ones across the Sunshine State,” Sprowls said.
Below is the list of proposed tax-free products.
— Bait and fishing tackle if sold separately (under $10 per pack if sold in multi-packs)
— Sunscreen and insect repellent
— Snorkels, goggles and swimming masks
— Lanterns and flashlights
— Water bottles
— Collapsible camping chairs
— Sleeping bags
— Portable hammocks
— Camping stoves
— Hydration packs
— Life jackets
— Rods and reels (or under $150 if purchased as a set)
— Camping tents
— Inflatable tubes or floats capable of being towed