The House is set to approve a sweeping tax package proposal that includes four sales tax “holidays,” including one named after a fictional DIY show.
The package (HB 7071), which drew praise from Democrats on Tuesday, 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 Labor Day weekend that would allow people to avoid paying sales tax when buying tools and other work equipment.
“For the first time this year – guys listen and women listen for your men – we’re offering a ‘Tool Time’ sales tax holiday on specific items related to the skilled trades,” said Ways & Means president, 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 exemption will also help students in business programs.
While Democrats have praised the package, they have tried unsuccessfully to make a change to close what they see as a “tax haven” loophole for multistate corporations.
Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville, estimated that the proposed tax code change, which involves what’s known as “combined filing,” could generate $500 million in revenue.
“That’s more than we put into preschools,” Nixon said. “It’s money that can be used to help with our infrastructure. It is money that can be used to solve the housing crisis we are experiencing today.
Payne warned the change could cost jobs, raise prices and drive businesses out of Florida. The Republican-dominated House voted 75 to 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 clothing, school supplies and personal computers that cost up to $1,500. State economists have estimated that allowing shoppers to avoid paying sales tax on these items would cost $100 million.
In addition, economists have estimated $76 million in savings to shoppers during a seven-day “Freedom Week” tax holiday around Independence Day. During this period, buyers could avoid paying sales tax on things such as tickets to musical 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 relief would be offered on baby clothing; layers; Children’s books; Energy Star refrigerators, washers, dryers and water heaters; impact resistant windows, doors and garage doors; new mobile homes and tickets to Formula 1 Grand Prix races.
Other parts of the package include a 14-day disaster preparedness vacation in late May and early June as residents prepare for hurricane season. This vacation for the first time would include pet supplies.
Tax relief would also be provided to Class II and Class III freight railroads, which include the Florida East Coast Railway and the Alabama Gulf Coast Railway.
An exemption for “green hydrogen” machinery and equipment backed by Florida Power & Light would reduce 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 the sudden and unforeseen collapse of an apartment building. Another proposal would provide a break for homesteads rendered unlivable for 30 days or more by future catastrophic events.