Florida lawmakers to consider gas tax holiday

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 8:57 PM CST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - A booming economy and billions in Federal money have Florida lawmakers looking to continue popular sales tax holidays and add a new one for working people. The one item not yet in the package is a top priority of the Governor.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced his plans to suspend the state’s 26.5 cents per gallon gas tax last November.

“It will be over a billion dollars so that will be real meaningful relief for people,” DeSantis said.

He pushed the idea again during his state of the state in January reiterating the idea for lawmakers.

“I’m proposing a one billion dollar gas tax holiday.”

But as gas prices hit record highs, the gas tax suspension is nowhere to be found in this year’s tax cut package passed by the House.

Ways and Means Chair Representative Bobby Payne says it is still on the table.

“I think we are considering some elements of the Governor’s proposal on gas tax,” Payne said.

Included in a package is a back-to-school sales tax holiday for two weeks, and a new one-year exemption for baby clothes and diapers. Children’s books will be tax-exempt for three months. Energy-efficient appliances get a break, and there is a new tool time sales tax holiday for working Floridians.

When it comes to the Governor’s billion-dollar plan to cut the gas tax for up to five months, Payne says there are problems.

“Some of the pump owners, some of the station owners actually will retain a lot of that, so and how much merit do citizens, and how much relief do citizens of Flordia actually get when we have a lot of them so many people are from out of state visitors.”

But Payne says to stay tuned.

“I believe it will be worked out. We’ll present our offer, the Senate will give us their offer back and we’ll come to some common ground pretty quickly.”

Just over 48 hours remain in this year’s regular legislative session.

House and Senate negotiators are playing their cards close to the vest, but they expect to meet late Wednesday and make a decision on what part of the gas tax holiday is acceptable.

A statement from the Governor’s office said in part “In light of spiraling gas prices. The governor wants gas to be affordable to all Floridians and is willing to reduce tax burdens to make this possible. At this point, it is up to the legislature to pass these measures in the final budget.”