Business rent cut, bed tax restrictions snubbed in tax package
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Taxpayers and consumers are projected to save $1.5B over the next 2 years under the bill.

A rewrite of the tax cut bill has left a reduction in the business rent tax and proposed restrictions to bed taxes on the cutting room floor.

The Senate approved an amendment to HB 7073 which includes a slate of tax cut provisions aimed largely at reducing insurance premium taxes and sales taxes during specified sales tax holidays on select items. The bill provides a credit to insurance companies that reduce premiums for homeowners. The provision is projected to save homeowners $417.5 million over two years.

Much of the bill was previously included in either the House or Senate proposals, but a $450 million toll rebate program for drivers with more than 35 toll transactions per month was included as part of a last-minute deal at the urging of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The amendment also left off House plans to require voters to approve local sales tax referendums every 10 years and to reapprove tourist development taxes, or bed taxes, which fund local tourism marketing boards, every six years. The House plan to cut the tax on business rent to 1.25% starting July 1 was also snipped from the final bill. The rate is already set to fall to 2% in August under current law.

Other parts of the bill include a reduction in the Hillsborough County sales tax for a short period, until $165 million from the state is drained to replenish the county. It’s part of the way the state is returning $570 million to Hillsborough, where a surtax approved by voters was in effect for two years before it was ruled unconstitutional. The tax was intended to pay for transportation improvements, and the rest of the funds will go toward those projects and to refund taxpayers and settle lawsuits.

The package also includes a quartet of sales tax holidays, but some are pared back from the past year.

The back-to-school sales tax holiday on clothing and school items will last two weeks starting July 29; the holiday for the Spring semester lawmakers approved for the current year wasn’t included. Last year’s “Freedom Summer” sales tax holiday on event tickets to museums, sporting events, plays, festivals, fairs and outdoor items has been reduced to “Freedom Month” and will last during July. There’s also a one-week holiday on tools starting Sept. 1 and two separate two-week sales tax holidays for disaster preparedness items, starting June 1 and August 24.

Taxpayers and consumers are projected to save $1.5 billion over the next two years under the bill.

The Legislature is expected to pass the bill Friday.

Gray Rohrer


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