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Governor signs ‘sales tax holiday’ package; gas, diapers, essential items becoming tax-free

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference on Friday to sign house bill 7071, which will...
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference on Friday to sign house bill 7071, which will provide tax relief on purchases of items such as children’s books, diapers, children’s clothes and more.(WCJB)
Published: May. 7, 2022 at 12:23 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB/Gray News) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a package on Friday that will give residents a series of sales tax “holidays.”

WWSB reports the tax breaks will be on items like school clothes, hurricane supplies, tools and a suspension of the state gas tax in October.

Tax package HB 7071 was passed by the Legislature in March and is said to reduce state and local revenues by $804.3 million during the upcoming fiscal year.

Officials said the package will eliminate taxes during the 2022-2023 fiscal year on baby clothes, diapers, children’s books, Energy Star appliances, impact-resistant doors and windows, new mobile homes and admissions to Formula One Grand Prix races and the Daytona 500.

“This bill comes at an opportune time, as families grapple with the rising costs of everyday expenses like gas, food and clothing,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “I know that every penny saved counts.”

State leaders touted that the election-year package would help consumers.

“The tax relief you’re going to see are going to be breaks for really critical needs, like gas, diapers, disaster supplies, tools for skilled trades, recreational activities, you name it,” DeSantis said. “And, so, families are going to be able to save for things that really matter to them.”

DeSantis, whose youngest child is 2-years-old, highlighted the tax breaks for diapers and baby clothes during a bill-signing ceremony at Sam’s Club in Ocala, Florida. The ceremony included a stack of Huggies diapers and several families.

While most of the tax breaks will not take effect until July 1 or later, two parts will start this month.

A sales-tax exemption on children’s books will run from May 14 to Aug. 14. Also, a tax holiday will start on May 28 on hurricane supplies.

Officials said shoppers would be able to avoid paying sales taxes on an array of items, from packages of batteries and radios under $50 to generators up to $1,000. The hurricane-season holiday for the first time, will include pet supplies.

The second tax holiday will be for what lawmakers have dubbed “Freedom Week,” which will run from July 1 through July 7. Shoppers will be able to avoid paying sales taxes on such things as tickets for concerts, movies, ballgames, museum visits and select outdoor gear.

A back-to-school tax holiday will start July 25 and last through Aug. 7. Shoppers will be able to avoid paying sales taxes on clothes and shoes that cost $100 or less, school supplies that cost $50 or less and personal computers with price tags of $1,500 or less.

Economists estimate the holiday’s impact to total $100.1 million.

In the month before voters go to the polls for the November elections, they also will get a break at the gas pump. The package includes suspending a .25-cent gas tax per gallon in October.

“There are certain things when you have inflation that you can maybe dial back, certain entertainment, whatever, people can make decisions with their family budget,” DeSantis said. “You can’t just not get to your job. So, you’ve got to fill up your gas tank.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democratic candidate for governor, issued a statement Friday that said many of the tax breaks were aided by federal stimulus money.

“This tax relief package was made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which provided Florida with more than $10 billion in federal funds,” Fried said.

Officials said parents are projected to see savings of $74.7 million by not having to pay sales taxes on clothes and shoes for toddlers and another $35.7 million on the costs of diapers.

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