The Sunny Side of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Budget

The Sunny Side of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Budget

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It’s budget time, and while the members of Florida’s Legislature evaluate competing plans in the state House and Senate, the Sunshine State’s Governor, Rick Scott, is championing a $77 billion proposal he insists will “Keep Florida Working.”  Although there’s a $4 million gap between the legislative budgets, owing in large part to disagreements between health and human services spending, Governor Scott’s proposal to significantly cut taxes on communications services may see the light of day.

According to Governor Scott in an oped published in the Tampa Tribune,

The biggest part of our proposal is to cut the tax families and businesses pay for their cellphone and TV services. Floridians pay a state cellphone and TV tax rate of 9.17 percent on nonresidential landlines, cellphone and cable services, and a back-breaking 13.17 percent on satellite services. With our cellphone and TV tax cut, every Florida family will save real money — around $43 a year for spending as little as $100 a month between cellphone, cable and satellite bills.

In seeking support for his proposal, Governor Scott spent the week raising awareness about his budget plans during “Cut My Taxes Week,” where people were invited to meet with him and key leaders at the state capitol between Tuesday and Thursday.  Those who participated in the event were invited to see how much they could save in taxes if the Governor’s proposals are incorporated into the legislative budget.  A Tax Cut calculator is also available online.

Governor Scott’s plan to reduce Florida’s Communications Sales Tax by $470 million has received support by members of the Florida Senate as well as by Florida TaxWatch, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog.

“With Floridians relying greatly on cellphones to stay connected to one another, reducing this tax will deliver monthly relief to all citizens across our state,” said Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) who authored legislation passed by the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee that supports Governor Scott’s tax cut. Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, echoed the sentiment, “For years we have recommended that the Legislature reduce this highly burdensome and regressive tax on consumers and businesses. Florida’s unfairly high Communications Services Tax is punitive and makes the state less attractive to businesses the state is trying to recruit to provide high-skill, high-wage jobs to its residents.”

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