Today, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to Florida House conferees asking that they would oppose all tax increases that are being sent over from the Florida Senate in Senate Bill 2600. The Senate voted unanimously to adopt SB 2600, a bill that contains a $1 hike in the tobacco tax totaling an estimated $2 billion over the next two fiscal years. This tax hike if passed into law will not only hurt consumers, but also the small businesses that make a living selling these products. The Senate would rather raid their pockets rather than fix Florida’s overspending problem (a problem to the tune of an estimated $9 billion increase in spending since 2002).  
Another tax increase is motoring its way through committee in Florida and will soon be looking at a Senate vote. Senate Bill 1212, a bill that would allow for tax increases on rental cars. After an earlier bill that would have adopted a $2 per day tax hike on rental cars died, it was brought back in SB 1212, but as a local option to be decided by the county commission, after which the voters would have their say the following election day as to whether or not they want to keep the tax. In other words, supporters of this bill have found a way to pass the buck to the localities so that they do not have to vote on a tax that has their names on it. Much of this money would be directed to light rail projects, projects that should be paying for themselves rather than receiving subsidies from individuals renting cars.  To see ATR’s letter addressing SB1212, click here.    
Process to pocketbook: Many times, as with other taxes, rental car taxes are said to taxes on someone else (taxes on others are also bad, the someone else will end up being you one day), in this case a rental car taxes on visitors from out of state. The very premise of this argument is false. Statistics have shown that more than fifty percent of all car rentals are made by locals. What seems to be missing is that locals may rent cars too. What about a small business owner who would need to rent a car as an alternative mode of transportation due to a company vehicle breaking down?
Continue to keep a watchful eye on Florida, stay tuned…..
Photo Credit: hawleyjr