- DeSantis just signed several tax breaks into law in Florida, billing it as a way to fight inflation.
- It'll lower the cost of diapers, school supplies, gas, and more.
- The state is flush with revenue, including from the federal government.
As he prepared to sign the bill at a Sam's Club in Ocala, Florida, DeSantis blamed President Joe Biden for the state's need to provide financial relief amid record-high inflation. He has also warned in recent weeks that the country may be heading into a recession.
"We have done more than any other state to step up against Bidenflation headwinds, to give relief to our citizens, and we are going to keep on doing that," DeSantis said at a bill signing event at Sam's Club in Ocala, Florida.
But at least one portion of the tax relief package is being paid for by congressional Democrats' $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure, called the American Rescue Plan, that Biden signed into law last year. Republicans and even some outside analysts frequently blame the spending package for contributing to inflation.
A total of $200 billion in COVID rescue dollars is going toward a one-month gas holiday that starts in October. Through the measure, drivers and motorcyclists will save 25 cents per gallon.
Florida's relief at the gas pump will come ahead of the gubernatorial election, set for November 8. DeSantis is expected to easily win re-election and is also considered to be a top contender for the White House in 2024, particularly if former President Donald Trump doesn't run.
The gas tax holiday in Florida is less than the five-month, $1 billion in savings DeSantis had recommended. State legislative leaders limited the relief because they said they were concerned it would otherwise go to people traveling to Florida from out of state.
The idea of state gas taxes are popular, particularly as prices hit $6 a gallon in some places. Some members of Congress want to enact a federal gas tax holiday, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea saying that oil companies aren't required to pass on the savings to consumers.
But the tax breaks won't necessarily alleviate inflation. Some analysts, such as Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center, have warned that tax breaks could actually worsen inflation because people will spend and consume more at a time when supplies are limited. Some of the tax breaks will go toward recreational gear for the summer, for instance. Other breaks will be on more essential supplies people would buy with or without a tax, such as diapers.
10 tax breaks on the horizon in Florida
States all over the country have been unexpectedly flooded with cash not just from the COVID stimulus but also after they took in far more revenue than they expected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeSantis predicted Florida's budget would have a $20 billion surplus by the start of the next fiscal year. Such revenue gives the state plenty of room to suspend or reduce its 6% sales tax.
The earliest tax breaks are coming on children's books in just over a week. Families will get tax breaks for buying Energy Star appliances and for back-to-school shopping. Taxes on mobile homes will fall to 3%.
One of the most popular provisions including among Democrats in the legislature is a yearlong tax break on diapers, as well as clothes and shoes for babies and toddlers, starting July 1.
Another tax break will run May 28 to June 10 on disaster supplies ahead of hurricane season. It'll include items such as generators, fuel tanks, and batteries. Around Labor Day, the state is enacting a "Tool Time" holiday to waive the sales tax on tools for workers in skilled trades such as carpentry and plumbing.
For the second year in a row Florida will have its "Freedom Week" tax holiday around the Fourth of July. The state will be suspending sales taxes on tickets for entertainment, as well as purchases for recreational activities, from bikes to boats. There will be no sales taxes on Tickets for the Daytona 500, Formula One races, and World Cup qualification matches.
The longest tax break is for people to purchase impact-resistant windows and doors to fortify their properties.