Last Call for 2.19.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The House released its proposed tax cut package (HB 7073) last week, and the Senate followed suit on Monday.

The $900 million tax cut plan includes an increase to an allowance for small businesses remitting sales taxes and a familiar set of sales tax holidays that mostly aligns with the House proposal.

Both plans set up a “Freedom Month,” with sales taxes exempted for event tickets to museums, sporting events, plays, festivals, fairs and more, as well as outdoor items. A two-week holiday on back-to-school items starting July 29 is part of the bill, as is a one-week holiday on tools beginning Sept. 1. There are also two separate two-week sales tax holidays for disaster preparedness items, starting June 1 and August 24.

But key differences could set up a clash with the House. Notably, the Senate included a proposal from Gov. Ron DeSantis to cut insurance premium taxes — a provision that was conspicuously absent in the House plan. Meanwhile, the Senate proposal doesn’t include a cut to the business rent tax, a main feature of the House plan.

When it meets on Tuesday, the Senate Finance and Tax Committee is poised to take up the bill (SB 7074). 

Meanwhile, the full House is poised to consider legislation that could mellow out the state’s recreational marijuana market before it even gets started.

Republican Rep. Ralph Massullo’s legislation (HB 1269), which seeks to impose restrictions on a potential adult-use cannabis market that could be up for citizens’ initiative on November’s ballot, is now on the House calendar after advancing through both committees of reference.

The measure would cap delta-9 THC at 30% in flower, at 60% in concentrates, restrict vaporizer cartridges to 1 gram, and cap edibles at 200 mg of THC per package.

Bill Day’s Latest

Evening Reads

—“The GOP has crossed an ominous threshold on foreign policy” via Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic

—”How NIMBYs are helping to turn the public against immigrants” via Eric Levitz of Vox

—”Documents reveal Abraham Lincoln pardoned Joe Biden’s great-great-grandfather” via David J. Gerleman of The Washington Post

—“Matt Gaetz’s chaos agenda” via Dexter Filkins of The New Yorker

—”Anti-Trump burnout: The resistance says it’s exhausted” via Katie Glueck of The New York Times

—”Goldman gauges show why Biden’s benefit from economy in doubt” via Ben Holland of Bloomberg

—”In the ‘Gunshine State,’ Florida lawmakers say too many kids are packing heat” via Romy Ellenbogen of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times

—”Florida Primary deadlines near for people who want to show support — or opposition — to Donald Trump” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”When will housing affordability improve? Spoiler alert: It will take some time” via Casey Quinlan of the Florida Phoenix

3 Questions

Florida Politics recently spoke with Noble Citrus Director of Procurement Adam Roe about the company’s partnership with Feeding Florida, a statewide food bank network.

FP: How does the partnership with Feeding Florida benefit farmers and their communities?

Roe: The partnership with Feeding Florida is highly beneficial for farmers and their communities, acting as a crucial conduit for community support. It provides farmers with a reliable outlet for their produce, especially when the crops don’t turn out as expected, do not ripen in time, or ripen too soon. This allows farmers to contribute positively to their communities by ensuring their produce doesn’t go to waste. Farmers want to help their communities but can often use assistance in how to execute that. 

FP: Can you describe the “pick and pack out” model of Feeding Florida and its impact on providing local produce to Florida families?

Roe: The “pick and pack out” model employed by Feeding Florida enables farmers to pack their fruit for families in need and deliver it to Feeding Florida partners, with compensation provided for these activities. This approach allows farmers to recoup costs while ensuring that the fruit remains within the state of Florida, benefiting local communities directly. It represents an efficient use of resources, helping to distribute local produce to families in need across the state.

FP: Why is food independence crucial for Florida, and what are the benefits of participating in planned loads with Farmers Feeding Florida for your farm?

Roe: Before COVID, food independence wasn’t something the average consumer worried about, or likely thought about at all. But when we began to see empty shelves, more and more people began to realize that if America doesn’t grow its own food, we may not have a reliable food supply. That is why supporting programs like Farmers Feeding Florida is so incredibly vital to our future and our state’s food security.

Participating in planned loads with Farmers Feeding Florida has significantly benefited the farm by ensuring continuity of supply and allowing for steady work for the workforce, including H2A harvest partners. It reduces fruit loss during peak seasons by having a reliable schedule with an understanding partner.

Quote of the Day

“While the federal government just keeps printing money, here in Florida, under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, we are saving it and living within our means.”

— Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, unveiling the Senate tax cut package.

Put It on the Tab

Look to your left, then look to your right. If you see one of these people at your happy hour haunt, flag down the bartender and put one of these on your tab. Recipes included, just in case the Cocktail Codex fell into the well.

Senate Finance & Tax Committee Chair Blaise Ingoglia and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo proposed a $900 million tax cut plan on Monday. That earns them The Tax Relief.

We’re pretty sure alcohol is a no-no on K-12 campuses, but we also thought clergy were, too. That may not be the case much longer, so go ahead and mix up a Mister Christian for your favorite “volunteer chaplain.”

Order a round of Million Dollar Cocktails — 31 of them, to be exact — for Paul Bradshaw and the lobbying team at The Southern Group, who closed out 2023 as the most lucrative lobbying firm in the state. Snag a round for Brian Ballard, too, whose firm topped the rankings in Q4.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Key SWAC battle for Bethune-Cookman

Two of the top four teams in the SWAC face off as Bethune-Cookman goes on the road to play Jackson State tonight (8:30 p.m. ET,

Jackson State (11-14; 7-5 in SWAC) has won three straight games in conference play. The game is particularly important for seeding in the SWAC tournament. Bethune-Cookman and Jackson State are tied for second in the SWAC standings with 7-5 records in conference play. Texas Southern and Alcorn State are also 7-5, while Alabama State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Alabama A&M are all 6-6. That makes seven teams contending for six spots in the conference tournament field.

A win is valuable this time of year, while a loss could shove a team out of the conference tournament and end any dreams of making the NCAA tournament field.

Bethune-Cookman (12-13; 7-5) is coming off a loss at Alcorn State on Saturday. 

In the first meeting of the year against Jackson State, the Wildcats won at home, 82-71. In that game, sophomore point guard Zion Harmon scored 23 points to lead the Wildcats. Harmon’s 15 points per game average ranks second on the team in scoring behind sophomore wing Jakobi Heady (15.9 ppg)

This game figures to be a battle of guards. Jackson State’s Ken Evans is the Tigers’ leading scorer at 18.1 points per game.

Also tonight:

6:30 p.m. — NCAAW: Florida A&M Rattlers @ Alcorn State Braves

7 p.m. — Ottawa Senators @ Tampa Bay Lightning

8:30 p.m. — NCAAM: Florida A&M Rattlers @ Alcorn State Braves


Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson, with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.

Staff Reports

One comment

  • florida is Breaking Bad not set in a dry area

    February 19, 2024 at 6:42 pm

    Rising costs sinking big projects in Downtown Jax
    By Ric Anderson – Jacksonville Daily Record
    Published on February 16, 2024 at 3:44 pm
    Two of the biggest Downtown property developments on the Northbank have fizzled due to increased costs of construction and difficulties obtaining large-project financing, according to the chief executive of the Downtown Investment Authority.

    In an interview with the Jacksonville Daily Record, DIA CEO Lori Boyer said the city-owned sites of the proposed American Lions tower and Hardwick at Ford on Bay may be put back up for disposition — offered up for new redevelopment proposals, in other words.

Comments are closed.


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