St. Petersburg Times
A plan to provide Florida drivers with a one-month, 10-cent
break from the state's gasoline tax will likely be taken up
by the Senate, but that chamber's president said he's still
The Senate has set aside $70-million to pay for the break
in August, indicating its willingness to consider it. But
as lawmakers try to resolve budget differences in the session's
final days, the idea has become a bargaining chip.
Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, a top lieutenant to Senate President
Jim King, said Wednesday the chamber will likely take up the
issue despite skepticism about whether the dime savings would
flow all the way down to consumers.
There's no guarantee it will gain final approval, said King,
R-Jacksonville. "We're not convinced that it's a good
idea at all."
The measure was first proposed this session by Democratic
Rep. Bob Henriquez of Tampa. House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, R-Plant
City, then made it a House priority, saying any tax break
was a good one, and it received bipartisan backing in that
For someone using 20 gallons of gas a week, the tax break
would mean a savings of about $8.60 for the month.
Back-to-school sales tax break likely
A plan where Floridians would have a nine-day holiday from
paying sales tax on clothes, books and school supplies is
a step closer to becoming reality.
The House showed strong support for the proposal, but did
not vote during its Wednesday session on a plan (HB 237) where
consumers - from July 24 through Aug. 1 - wouldn't pay tax
on clothing and books costing up to $100, and school supplies
costing up to $10.
The Senate also supports a tax holiday, and although its
plan is slightly different, it is leaning toward going along
with the House, said Senate Budget Chairman Ken Pruitt, R-Port
The break from the 6 percent sales tax was popular from 1998
to 2001, but the Legislature didn't do it in either of the
last two years because of budget constraints.