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Florida lawmakers passed $1.5B tax relief package with four sales tax holidays

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(The Center Square) — Florida lawmakers passed a tax relief package this session that includes sale-tax holidays throughout the 2024-2025 fiscal year that will bring some relief to the Sunshine State’s residents.

In total, Florida will have a tax relief package of over $1.5 billion if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the legislation, which would include a 14-day “back-to-school” sales tax holiday, a 14-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday, a month-long sales tax holiday for recreational equipment and activities in July and a seven-day sales tax holiday on equipment and tools for skilled workers.

Not everyone sees the efficacy of sales tax holidays.

Katherine Loughead, a senior policy analyst and research manager at the non-partisan Tax Foundation, told The Center Square that while sales tax holidays are popular, they’re not the most efficient way to provide relief.

“Sales tax holidays are politically popular, but there are more efficient and effective ways of providing tax relief to Florida residents,” Loughead said. “Instead of offering temporary sales tax breaks for specific items, permanently trimming the sales tax rate would provide relief to all taxpayers regardless of what they buy or when they buy it.”

House Bill 7073 is sponsored by state Sen. Stan McClain, R-Ocala, and provides the majority of the various tax savings for Floridians across the state. The focus of the tax package is to keep Florida affordable and includes sales tax holidays for back-to-school students, as well as lowering taxes on property insurance.

Lawmakers have also set aside $450 million within the state’s budget for toll relief. The toll relief program will be developed by the Department of Transportation and will provide toll relief for certain high-use drivers who will be eligible to receive a 50% credit from April to March 2025.

In a news release, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said that the tax package is in response to the rising cost of living caused by inflation.

“Inflation has led to significant increases in costs that are negatively impacting families. We are working to ease the pain with broad-based sales tax relief that will be very meaningful for families and seniors with opportunities for tax savings for families.” Passidomo said in the news release.

Passidomo added that lawmakers have further earmarked over $500 million in tax cuts for property insurance and flood insurance premiums, which pose a “major affordability problem” for many Florida homeowners.