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Gov. Scott Signs $400M In Tax Cuts Into Law

Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Source: WikiMedia Commons
Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Source: WikiMedia Commons

Gov. Rick Scott has signed 53 pages’ worth of tax cuts into law.

The recurring and one-time cuts total $400 million, significantly less than what Scott asked lawmakers to pass this year.

The scene has become a familiar one over the last five years: Scott signing a tax cut at a factory – this time the Novolex plastic bag plant in Jacksonville – while announcing the creation of 25 jobs, which required no economic incentives from the city.

Wednesday’s signing ceremony saw Scott flanked by factory employees and local and state politicians such as Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

“When I ran for reelection in 2014, one of the things we talked about was cutting $1 billion in taxes over two years,” Scott said. “One of the exciting things about the tax cut we’re doing this year is we’re going to permanently eliminate the sales tax on machinery equipment.”

Leading up to this year’s legislative session, Scott had asked lawmakers to pass a tax cut package more than twice the current measure’s $400 million size, but they declined to back all of his proposals. Observers say some lawmakers blocked Scott’s full plan in retaliation as part of the state’s ongoing dispute over Medicaid expansion.

Still, Scott is claiming victory.

“We are heading in the right direction,” he said.

Even the state House of Representatives, which sided with the governor against the Senate’s private-sector Medicaid expansion plan, had questions about Scott’s full proposal. House lawmakers said it didn’t include a plan to deal with a looming $400 million health budget shortfall as a result of losing federal funding for indigent care.

And, the final tax cut package Scott signed yesterday might actually be even smaller than it appears.

Of the $400 million in cuts, $290 million stem from reducing the state’s required property tax rate for schools by 5 percent. The last $110 million is made up of extending sales tax holidays, including the back-to-school break and the permanent cutting of manufacturing equipment sales taxes.