Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed into law this week $400 million worth of one-time and recurring tax cuts. Of that $400 million, $290 million comes reducing the state property tax rate for schools by 5 percent, and $110 million involves extending tax holidays, such as the back-to-school tax break and permanently cutting sales taxes on manufacturing equipment. The back-to-school tax holiday will last three days from August 5-7, shorter than the originally proposed 10 days. In addition to these cuts, there are also smaller breaks including an exemption on food and drinks sold by veterans’ organization and phases out a sales tax on asphalt used by the government over a three-year period.
Initially Gov. Scott asked for $1 billion in tax cuts at the beginning of the year, but big spenders in the legislature, who insisted on expanding Medicaid and other spending programs opposed the proposal. Scott had also proposed $250 million in business-recruitment incentives. Despite the legislature’s opposition to the larger but modest tax cut proposal, Gov. Scott remained ever the optimist, stating, “We are headed in the right direction.”
The Governor has quite the reputation for cutting taxes, and is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment he has kept, unlike his predecessor Charlie Crist.
In 2015 alone, the Governor signed a $429 million tax-cut package into law that included lower cell phone and cable taxes for Florida residents. That package, along with his most recent pro-growth plans, bring his total to more than $3 billion in tax cuts through his tenure as Governor of Florida. These massive pro-growth policies have led to the creation of one million jobs, cutting unemployment nearly in half and driving economic growth in the country’s fourth largest economy.