Florida Tax Exemptions

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

Skyboxes and ostrich feed get a lot of attention for being untaxed. But
the tax code lists 246 specific exemptions. Boats that come for 20 days aren’t taxed but longer slip rental is. Newspapers are also taxed, but the ad inserts inside aren’t. Rising property taxes have a little known group named the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission looking at ways to eliminate some exemptions. Commission member Jim Scott says eliminating the school tax is a top priority.
“It would be a tremendous 35 percent in Broward County and I happen to know, reduction across the board for all property taxes,” Scott says.
Dry cleaning is not taxed. But changing that would not matter to Amanda
Hammerli.
“I don’t dry clean enough for it to even bother me. So I wouldn’t care
either way really,” Hammerli says.
But the people behind the dry cleaning counter worry.
\“I think everybody would start cleaning clothes at home, to be honest
with you,” says Yvonne Smith, a manager of a dry cleaners.
Taxing bottled water would raise enough money to hire a thousand
teachers and pay them all $34,000 a year. Randy Miller was in charge of the state’s revenue department the last time a services tax was tried.
“We did it 20 years ago. It’s a failed experiment. We need to be looking
20 years forward, not 20 years backward,” says Commission member Randy Miller.
Voters may have the final say, but trading taxes on somebody else for
lower property taxes could be appealing to many.
At least three differing proposals are before the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which indicates a high level of interest in doing something. The Commission's report is due in May and anything it
decides will have to be approved by voters.


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