The Florida Retail Federation on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to extend a series of sales tax holidays, saying the tax breaks are not only popular with shoppers, but also spur spending and boost the economy.
The federation said a strike all amendment filed in the Senate would remove all sales tax holidays — including breaks for back-to-school shopping, hurricane preparedness, and energy-efficient appliances — from the House tax package (HB 7099). The Senate was slated to hear the strike all amendment on Tuesday but temporarily postponed the discussion, the federation said in a news release.
“For almost 20 years, Florida families have relied on these sales tax holidays as a way to provide for and protect their loved ones, and we’re concerned that removing them from the House tax package means consumers won’t be able to experience this important tax relief,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “If the Senate ultimately decides to keep these holidays out of the House bill, then we encourage them to pass the individual bills for these important sales tax holidays including Back-to-School, Disaster Preparedness and Energy Star.”
The Senate could also consider the Back-to-School (SB 198), Disaster Preparedness (SB 608) and Energy-Star (SB 870) sales tax holidays as standalone bills, the federation said. However, none of the legislation has been considered by the senate’s Committee on Appropriations, a move that must happen before it can be sent to the senate floor, the federation said.
The federation said consumers have come to rely on the sales tax holidays. Retail experts argue that shoppers prefer sales–tax holidays over sales and discounts offered by individual retailers.
The tax break also boosts wages for retail employees, the federation said.
“In general, retailers say they get an average increase of between 30 and 40 percent in store traffic over the weekend because of the sales tax holiday,” the federation said.