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Florida House passes $193M tax cut package

Sales tax holidays for school, hurricane supplies approved in package

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House passed a $193 million tax cut package Friday that benefits businesses and corporations as well as giving consumers a sales tax holiday for school and hurricane supplies.

The bill passed on a 97-16 vote, with some Democrats arguing that the package gives away too much to corporations and not enough for working-class Floridians. The package includes a tax credit for car rental companies and cuts on aviation fuel, cell phone and satellite television bills and business rental properties.

“Working families are going to save what? A few bucks a year because of the reduction in the communications services tax? Well what are the commercial airlines gonna get in this tax package? They’re not getting a few bucks a year. The commercial airlines are saving millions of millions of dollars," said Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

The bill would cut the tax on cell phones, satellite television and other communications devices by 0.5 %. That would mean a person with a $100 monthly cell phone bill would save 50 cents a month, or $6 a year. The cost to state and local governments would be $24.9 million in revenue.

A seven-day tax holiday on hurricane supplies and a three-day tax holiday on clothing and school supplies would save shoppers $37.4 million. A 0.1% cut in the commercial rent sales tax would save businesses $15.8 million. A tax credit for vehicle rental companies would total $6 million.

Republican Rep. Bryan Avila disputed opponents' contention that the tax cut package was a bigger boost to corporations than Floridians.

“Almost 60 percent of the total of this tax package is purely for households, purely for our residents of the state of Florida. Twenty-five percent is for small businesses,” Avila said. “A little over 15 percent is purely corporate ... The suggestion that this bill is a corporate giveaway has no merit.”