Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service via wikimedia commons

The major party presidential candidates are offering two starkly different courses for the country ahead of Election Day.  The contrast is particularly acute in their economic plans.

Legislative leaders made their pitch at the Capitol Wednesday.
Nick Evans

Elected officials gathered at the Capitol's observation deck Wednesday to lay out their plans for the coming year.  The Associated Press hosts the annual event.

Sal Nuzzo's page on the James Madison Institute website

As lawmakers return to the capitol to tie up loose ends, many tax-minded Floridians may wonder what the emergency session means for them.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Businesses could see their electricity taxes cut in half under a proposal Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam is pushing. The commissioner’s plan would also dedicate the remaining tax revenue to education.

Gov. Rick Scott has proposed cutting vehicle registration fees as part of his election year plan to save voters $500 million in taxes. On Wednesday, Putnam offered his alternative: Slash businesses’ electricity levy by 50 percent and spend the rest of the electricity taxes on schools.

Michael Miley / Flickr Creative Commons

The state’s chief economist, Amy Baker, says the state’s transportation trust fund – that’s the money pot funded with fuel, tag and license taxes, will have an extra $200-million to draw from this fiscal year. Baker says tax revenue from highway and diesel fuel sales is up but, she’s perplexed by one category that’s bucking the overall trend.

“The only one that we didn’t see reasons to believe that it’s going to meet the current estimate was the aviation fuel tax,” Baker said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Lawmakers are considering a tax package that would grant almost $120 million  each year in tax breaks to businesses and consumers in the state. Regan McCarthy reports the Senate Budget Committee approved the measure Wednesday in an unusual late-late session committee meeting.

Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander says House leaders have already agreed on the measure, which would grant millions of dollars in tax breaks, mostly for businesses.

“This represents a compromise between the House and the Senate on what the tax package would look like.”

When it comes to property taxes, Florida’s local governments usually find themselves on the opposite side of the issue from the state’s business community.  But Tom Flanigan reports there was a rare show of agreement Thursday  during the Senate Finance and Tax Committee meeting.

Senator Nancy Detert brought what’s called a “Senate Joint Resolution” before the committee.

“This is a proposed amendment to the constitution that, if adopted, would provide additional property tax exemption for tangible personal property.”

Some of Florida’s Senators are calling for a comprehensive tax overhaul in the state. Regan McCarthy reports lawmakers say it’s time to stop piecing tax rules together bill by bill.

The latest in a controversial debate over a prison privatization plan has two Senate leaders butting heads. As Sascha Cordner reports, the spat is over a comment that the potential cost savings from privatizing about 30 South Florida prisons could lead to hundreds of jobs for teachers.

During a recent Senate Floor session, Republican Senator John Thrasher outlined why privatizing prisons could be a good thing: