By a vote of 40-0, the Florida state Senate passed S.B. 156, a $395 million tax cut which repealed a car tax increase signed into law by former Governor Charlie Crist in 2009. This was a top legislative priority for Republican Governor Rick Scott, who has made cutting taxes the focus of this year's legislative session.
Democrat Charlie Crist's 54 percent increase in automobile registration fees raised the cost of annual vehicle registration from $46 to $71 back in 2009. In undoing this tax hike, Republicans will save Sunshine State motorists an average of $25 per vehicle per year.
Upon passage of the Senate bill, Governor Scott had this to say:
"This tax cut will let families keep nearly $400 million of their hard-earned money in their own pockets. It's critical to our "It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget," which cuts taxes, pays down the debt, and cuts government waste. Today's vote is great news, and we'll continue working with the Legislature to let families keep more of their hard-earned dollars."
Lawmakers who had set a goal of more than $500 million in tax cuts this year got even more welcome news recently when state economists predicted that Florida would take in about $150 million more over the next 16 months than current estimates called for. Republican House Speaker Will Weatherford immediately declared what would be done with most of that money: "Obviously...tax cuts" He is pictured on the right, thinking about which taxes will be cut next.
Under Governor Scott's leadership and Republican control of the legislature, the state has gone from an inherited $3.6 billion deficit to more than a billion dollar surplus without higher taxes. The state's astounding economic growth has happened as a direct result of rolling back high taxes and sustained fiscal restraint, leading to massive new investments in the state by businesses and an influx new taxpayers from high tax states like New York and Illinois.