Tallahassee, FL - BP’s oil killed birds, poisoned fish, and knocked many of Florida’s tourism businesses into the red. Laurie Olshefski’s panhandle clothing and jewelry stores are among the businesses still reeling from a half a billion dollar drop off in economic activity.
“We saw decreases on our sales in our most busiest months at 30 percent,” said Olshefski.
Laurie, joined the Florida Retail Federation and Florida TaxWatch in a plea to BP… to sponsor seven sales tax holidays… to help fix the economic damage caused by the oil giant’s mistakes.
“It would bring people from all over to shop. It’s better to give tax free shopping than give a 50 percent discount. Don’t ask me why, it’s just the way it is,” said Rick McAllister.
Panhandle businesses make most of their profits during the summer. But this summer the oil spill kept the tourists away, even though very little oil landed on Florida’s beaches. Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan government research group, says eliminating the sales tax will slowly start to bring them back.
“As it goes through the economy it’s going to help kick start the entire economy, bring things up and we think it could actually decrease future claims that people have,” said Kurt Wenner.
If BP agrees to the plan, the sales tax holidays would be hosted one weekend every month from May until September. TaxWatch estimate the cost at 25 million. The way it would work is the state, cities and counties would wave the tax and BP would reimburse the government. No word yet from BP on the companies thoughts on the plan.