Florida to get tax holiday on school and hurricane supplies

Back-to-school shoppers and hurricane-tested Floridians will be able to take advantage of sales-tax “holidays” when they prepare for the new school year and the upcoming storm season.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a tax package (HB 7123), featuring the school tax and disaster-preparedness holidays, and relief for business owners that rent storm-impacted farmers and commercial space.

With hurricane season coming on June 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill as attending the annual Hurricane Conference of Governor in West Palm Beach.

Mentioning the Floridians became hurricane “battled-tested” after hurricanes Michael last year, Irma in 2017, and Matthew in 2016, DeSantis said that they hoped not to have to use that experience this year.

He also said that he has used emergency powers to assist local officials to quickly access a federal program which provides cash advances that can be used to rebuild government buildings, schools, and certain non-profit facilities.

The package of tax was approved early this month when the  legislative session of  2019 ended. While being promoted as providing 121 million dollars in tax breaks, it is projected to decrease state and local revenue by 87 million dollars in the fiscal year of 2019-2020.

The business community backed the package while the amount of tax savings is lower than in prior years.

Gov. Ron DeSantis received the tax package last Tuesday and announced plans to sign the bill, providing a seven-day “holiday” for disaster preparation from May 31, one day before the six-month hurricane season starts.

However, during the tax holiday, sales taxes will not be collected on the items like non-electric food storage coolers which sell for $30 or less; self-powered light sources which cost $20 or less; portable generators that cost $750 or less; and self-powered radios, ground anchor systems, tarpaulins, and weather-band radios which cost $50 or less.

The holiday is projected to save $5.5 million for shoppers in state and local taxes.