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Bill calls for sales tax to fund schools

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A House Republican on Wednesday proposed eliminating property taxes that help pay for public schools and replacing the money with an increased sales tax.

Rep. Fred Costello, R-Ormond Beach, filed a bill (HB 575) that calls for a 2 percent "education sales and use tax," which would take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

The increased sales tax would replace a portion of property taxes known as "required local effort" that pumps billions of dollars a year into the education system.

"The Legislature intends to stimulate growth, business expansion, and job creation through property tax reform,'' said the bill, which will be considered during the 2016 legislative session. "As a first step toward achieving these goals, the Legislature intends by passage of this act to replace the required local effort education property tax with a 2 percent education sales and use tax."