Tax cuts falls short in Florida House from earlier this year


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Tax cuts are coming if the Florida House gets their way, but the amount that made it out of a House tax committee Tuesday falls far short from the numbers being thrown around earlier this year.

The package is part of the House's version of a health care compromise. House leadership said they're willing to put hundreds of millions of dollars of state money that would have gone toward tax cuts instead towards helping hospitals -- if the Senate drops its quest for Medicaid expansion.

A 2015 budget surplus gave way to the promise of cutting taxes, but health care money uncertainty put things in jeopardy. The Florida House is back with a tax cut package significantly less than they wanted at the beginning of the year.

"I'm going to ask the committee to favorably report a $436 million tax cut," said Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The package promises to save Floridians $436 million over the next two years. The hope at the beginning of 2015 was that nearly $700 million would be slashed.

A portion of the package that took the biggest hit was cell phone tax savings. The governor was pushing for an average savings of 43 dollars per year, the package only saves people about 10 bucks

"I've got to fish with the lures that work," Gaetz said. "We passed a huge CST cut during regular session, and we were unable to get the Senate to take up the reduction in the CST."

Democrat Jose Rodriguez tried to tack on an amendment that taxed outside businesses operating in Florida and put that money toward health care.

"Closing some corporate tax loopholes generates some revenue and would relieve that burden on the local level," Rodriguez said.

Republicans voted it down.

The Florida Chamber is happy with the overall proposal even though they were hoping for more cuts

"Would the Florida chamber like to see a $690 million tax cut package? Absolutely. But the package we saw pass out of House committee today is probably pretty close to what we'll see at the end," said David Hart, of the Florida Chamber.

Other portions of the package include a three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday moved up closer to the school year and three separate holidays to help college kids buy textbooks tax free.