TALLAHASSEE, FL. – The House is set to approve a proposed wide-ranging tax package that calls for four sales-tax “holidays,” including one carrying the name of a fictional handyman show.
The package (HB 7071), which drew praise Tuesday from Democrats, will ultimately have to be negotiated with the Senate. It is positioned for a vote Wednesday in the House.
The House wants to create a new seven-day tax holiday around the Labor Day weekend that would allow people to avoid paying sales taxes when they buy tools and other work equipment.
“We’re proposing for the first time this year — guys listen up, and ladies listen up for your men — a ‘Tool Time’ sales tax holiday on specific items related to skilled trades,” said Ways & Means Chairman Bobby Payne, a Palatka Republican who is spearheading the bill.
“Tool Time” was the name of a home-improvement show that was part of the 1990s sitcom “Home Improvement.”
Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, said the “tool time” tax holiday will also help students in trade programs.
While Democrats praised the package, they tried unsuccessfully to make a change to close what they consider a “tax haven” loophole for multi-state corporations.
Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville, estimated the proposed tax-code change, which involves what is known as “combined reporting,” could generate $500 million in revenue.
“That is more than we put in preschools,” Nixon said. “That is money that can be used to help with our infrastructure. That’s money that can be used to address this housing crisis that we see today.”
Payne cautioned that the change could cost jobs, increase prices and result in businesses exiting Florida. The Republican-dominated House voted 75-39 to reject the proposed change.
The package includes a proposed 14-day tax holiday in late July and early August on back-to-school items such as clothes, school supplies and personal computers that cost up to $1,500. State economists have estimated that allowing shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes on those items would cost $100 million.
Also, economists estimated $76 million in shopper savings during a seven-day “Freedom Week” tax holiday around Independence Day. During that period, shoppers could avoid paying sales taxes on such things as tickets to music events, sporting events, movies, theaters, parks, fairs and museums, purchases of items for camping, fishing and boating and purchases of surfboards, canoes, kayaks and bicycles.
Under the bill, additional sales-tax breaks would be offered on baby clothes; diapers; children’s books; Energy Star refrigerators, washers, dryers and water heaters; impact-resistant windows, doors and garage doors; new mobile homes and admissions to Formula One Grand Prix races.
Other parts of the package include a 14-day disaster-preparedness holiday in late May and early June as residents prepare for hurricane season. That holiday for the first time would include pet supplies.
A tax break also would go to Class II and Class III “short line” freight railroads, which include Florida East Coast Railway and Alabama Gulf Coast Railway
An exemption for “green hydrogen” machinery and equipment backed by Florida Power & Light would cut state revenue by $300,000 a year.
The package also includes a proposal — inspired by the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside — to provide tax relief to property owners affected by a sudden and unforeseen collapse of a residential building. Another proposal would provide a break for homesteaded property made unlivable for 30 days or more by future catastrophic events.