Gimme a Break

Every year, families look forward to Florida’s annual sales tax holiday on back-to-school shopping.

Beth Sullivan was glad to hear lawmakers are again including it in this year’s state budget.

Beth says, "It helps me out tremendously. We actually plan around that. I have three teenage boys and one on the cusp at home, so we actually plan around that and make it kind of a family trip."

Under this year’s bill, you won’t have to pay sales tax on books, clothing, even handbags and diaper bags costing $50 or less during the last nine days in July. You also get a break on school supplies like pencils and notebooks costing $10 or less.

For the first time this year, lawmakers also want to give you a tax break on hurricane supplies like generators and flashlight batteries during the first 12 days in June.

Floridians were forced to endure long lines and sometimes left empty handed after waiting ‘til the last minute last year. House sponsor Ron Greenstein hopes his bill will encourage families and stores to plan ahead.

Ron Greenstein, (D) Coconut Grove, says, "It allows Home Depot and Lowe’s and all the other stores that we’re dealing with to stock their shelves for this time and hopefully have sales for people, so we’ll have people prepare."

One item you will not get a tax break on is plywood. There was some complication with the paperwork involved, so plywood will not be included in this year’s tax break, but supporters want to add plywood and even more supplies next year. They’d like to see the hurricane supplies sales tax holiday become an annual event like the one back-to-school shopping.

If the governor signs the legislation, the hurricane supplies sales tax holiday will run from June 1 to the 12th. The back-to-school shopping holiday will run from July 23 to the 31st.