Lawmakers Discuss Tax Exemptions

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

35 year old Pamela Hemmen is a mom on a mission.
She drove 3 hours to the capitol then waited for two hours as lobbyist after lobbyist made their case to keep their tax exemptions.

With just four minutes left in the 2 hour meeting, she got up, told lawmakers she’d never testified before, then blasted them for even considering allowing some exemptions to remain.

“When you are on the fence about some of this issues and whether it is really and truly going to help the people as a whole...not just this one certain class who drives a Mercedes," says Pamela Hemmen.

Hemmen has already organized her kids elementary school and brought dozens of hand written notes. And another child wrote in here...I watched President Obama last night and he urged all of us to get more education. Why are you cutting our education?” The mother of three is fighting an up hill battle.

The GOP stacked committee likes most of the exemptions it is reviewing.

Republican Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Ft. Lauderdale says, "I think this is an important exercise because I believe the public perceives that these sales tax exemptions are just give away, and very often they are not.”

The chairwoman was quick to note the exemptions under review total just 500 million,when the state faces a deficit 10 times bigger.
Hemmen says she plans to keep coming back weekly until someone listens.

Hemmen is from St. Augustine, is a realtor, has an MBA and has children ranging from pre-school to 3rd grade. In total, Florida exempts more from the sales tax than it receives each year.

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