Flush with a $20 billion surplus — padded with federal stimulus funds from the COVID-19 crisis — Gov. Ron DeSantis wants lawmakers next year to pass another large tax cut plan, which he says will save families $1.1 billion.
The proposal largely targets eliminating the sales tax on items for babies and small children, including diapers, toys, cribs, strollers and children’s books.
Lawmakers passed a one-year exemption on sales taxes on diapers and clothes for babies this year, but DeSantis wants to make it permanent. That provision is estimated to save consumers $133 million.
DeSantis said his handling of COVID-19, opening back up from lockdown faster than other states, helped boost Florida’s economy and gave it a budget cushion to pass his tax cut plan, even if Florida suffers from an economic downturn led by record inflation.
“We’re really well-positioned,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Bradenton on Tuesday. “We can do this tax relief really without breaking a sweat at this point.”
DeSantis still faces a race for re-election, but if he defeats Democrat Charlie Crist in November, Florida lawmakers will consider the proposal during their next 60-day Regular Session, which starts March 7. Many planks of the plan won’t take effect until the start of the next fiscal year, July 1, 2023.
Here’s a rundown of his plan:
— Permanent elimination of sales tax on baby necessities, such as diapers, wipes, clothes and shoes — $133 million
— Permanent sales tax exemption for strollers and cribs — $4 million
— One-year sales tax exemption for children’s books — $17 million
— One-year sales tax exemption for children’s toys — $116 million
— One-year sales tax exemption for household items — $112 million
— One-year sales tax exemption for children’s athletic equipment — $33 million
— One-year sales tax exemption for pet food — $160 million
— Permanent sales tax exemption for over-the-counter pet medicine — $29 million
— Extending the back-to-school sales tax holiday to four weeks, with two weeks before the fall semester and two weeks before the spring semester — $210 million
— Permanent exemption of the sales tax on medical supplies and equipment — $59 million
— Renewing other sales tax holidays passed this year, such as for hurricane preparedness items — $196 million