Internet sales tax bill faces pushback

There is fallout at the State Capitol over the plan to start collecting the tax due on internet sales.
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - There is fallout at the State Capitol over the plan to start collecting the tax due on internet sales.

Florida’s labor unions argue working people will pay the tax, while businesses will reap the benefit.

The 30-10 vote was bipartisan.

Seven Democrats joined Republicans to begin collecting the sales tax on internet purchases from out of state merchants.

But many of the votes came with an unwritten string attached.

A commitment to look at unemployment benefits.

“I’m going to hold everyone to their commitment that we are going to get something really good done. Because guess what? If the benefit amount goes up and the number of weeks is more reasonable, our claimants and out constituents get more money,” said State Senator Jason Pizzo.

Florida and Missouri are the only two states with a sales tax that does not actively collect the tax from out of state merchants.

The AFL-CIO is angry because the $1.3 billion a year will be paid by working families, but it will be used to lower premiums businesses pay for unemployment.

“It is the responsibility of the businesses to fund unemployment insurance,” said Rich Templin with the Florida AFL-CIO.

Senate Democratic Leader Gary Farmer voted no.

“That was a tax giveaway to Florida’s largest, wealthiest corporations,” said Farmer.

But House Speaker Chris Sprowls believes that lowering what businesses will pay will help workers.”And yesterday they paid seven dollars per employee for unemployment. Now they are looking at eight-seven dollars. That could be the difference between staying open and closing,” said Sprowls.

Without the new money being used to offset another tax already collected, the legislation will likely face a veto from the Governor.

A House committee is expected to take the first action to raise the weekly unemployment benefits by a hundred dollars a week Monday evening.

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