Gov. Rick Scott is asking the state Legislature to permanently end a tax that's already been suspended.
His 2015-16 budget proposal includes the elimination of the state's sales tax on manufacturing equipment machinery purchases. Manufacturers first got a limited exemption in 2012. The following year, the Legislature suspended the tax entirely for three years, beginning in 2014 and lasting through April 30, 2017.
Scott's office has focused on the move as a means to boost the state's low-ranking manufacturing base, which the governor's office puts at 43rd in the nation. Business owners among the state's 18,000 manufacturers have lauded the tax's temporary suspension, as well as the possibility of it becoming permanent.
Florida TaxWatch, which has long advocated for doing away with the tax on manufacturing equipment, cites a state analysis that says a permanent change would cost the state $142.5 million a year after 2017. Local governments would lose $25.7 million of that, the group said.
Two bills have already been filed in the House and Senate to end the tax, one (SB 544) drafted by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, who originally sponsored the 2013 bill advocating for the three-year moratorium. This year, she also filed bills that would achieve some of Scott's other tax-cutting goals, including decreasing the communications services tax and knocking down the sales tax on commercial leases a percentage point.
Hukill told PolitiFact Florida that's Scott's staff was aware she was drafting and submitting the bills.
"They're issues I've been involved in for years," she said. "I didn't know when he was going to include these issues, but I know he supported them."
The Legislature has the final say on whether they will make the cut last forever when they fashion a 2015-16 budget. The legislative session begins March 3. Until lawmakers vote on the issue, we'll rate this promise In The Works.