A day after his presidential announcement, DeSantis signs millions in tax exemptions for Floridians
From baby and toddler products to back-to-school items, hygiene products, gas stoves and more, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed into law a long list of tax exemptions — sales, property and corporate income — adding up to tens of millions of dollars.
The governor signed the bill a day after his presidential announcement on Wednesday, and at a time when residents and taxpayers can enjoy a holiday — Memorial Day, May 29 — and the new hurricane season will soon begin on June 1.
Those days connect with “Freedom Summer,” a sales tax holiday from Memorial Day through Labor Day this year, and a “Disaster Preparedness” sales tax holiday from May 27 to June 9, and Aug. 26 to Sept. 8, 2023, according to the governor’s news release on the “tax relief “plan.
The other tax exemption packages include two back-to-school sales tax holidays — July 24 to August 6, 2023, and January 1 to January 14, 2024. The “tools and equipment” sales tax holiday will be from Sept. 2 to 8, 2023.
DeSantis signed the bill by video — which has been happening lately. In the past, reporters would attend a press conference and even ask questions to the governor.
In his video, DeSantis mentioned “disastrous policies” that have poured out of Washington, D.C, as well as high inflation and rising prices, which hurt the nation’s economy.
At the same time, the governor said that Florida remains strong, with an April unemployment figure of 2.6 percent. (According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a dozen states have lower unemployment figures than Florida. Those are South Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Alabama, Montana, Utah, Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, Maryland and Missouri.)
The governor also touted record tourism in the video.
Keep in mind that Democrats and progressives have criticized DeSantis and the GOP-controlled Legislature about high rent costs, rising property insurance and homes that are not affordable, but the tax exemptions can be helpful.
“For more than 40 years, Florida TaxWatch has served as a trusted government watchdog and vocal proponent of returning state funds to taxpayers whenever possible. We believe this robust tax relief package is exactly what hard-working Floridians and their families need and, perhaps most importantly, what they deserve,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro in a statement.
He added: Gov. Ron DeSantis should be commended for introducing this record proposal – the largest tax relief in Florida history – and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, and the entire Florida Legislature should also be praised for adding important provisions that align with some of Florida TaxWatch’s key tax reform priorities, such as reducing the business rent tax and placing a freeze on the local communications services tax.
Here’s what TaxWatch provided:
The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins on Sat., May 27 and ends on Fri., June 9. It will return prior to peak hurricane season, from Sat., Aug. 26 to Fri., Sept. 8. Among other items, and with pricing limits, it includes:
- Pet kennels or carriers and collapsible or travel-sized food and water bowls
- Laundry detergent, paper towels, trash bags, and other household items
- Batteries, portable radios, gas or diesel fuel tanks, and nonelectric food storage containers
- Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors
- Portable generators
The Freedom Summer Sales Tax Holiday begins on Memorial Day, Mon., May 29, and ends on Labor Day, Mon., Sept. 4. Among other items, and with pricing limits, it includes:
- Tickets to sporting events, fairs, concerts, plays, and more scheduled during the remainder of the 2023 calendar year
- Tents, sleeping bags, and camping chairs
- Paddleboards and surfboards, canoes and kayaks, and bicycles
- Outdoor gas and charcoal grills
- Sunscreen and insect repellant
Overall, the bill signed by DeSantis was more than 100 pages in the areas of sales tax, property taxes and corporate incomes taxes.
For example, for the category of sales tax, the legislation includes permanent exemptions for: specified baby and toddler products and clothes, adult incontinence products, oral hygiene products, machinery and equipment to produce renewable natural gas, certain agricultural fencing, firearm safety devices, and small private investigative agency services, according to the legislative analysis.
Also, the legislation provides the following temporary exemptions: a one-year exemption for certain ENERGY STAR certified appliances; a one-year exemption for gas ranges and cooktops; and an estimated 8-month reduction in the business rent tax from 5.5% to 4.5%, according to the analysis.
DeSantis mentioned the gas stoves in his video, saying “they are trying to come for your gas stoves.”
Here’s more info about the lengthy items for tax exemptions: