Florida Legislature Still at Odds over Obamacare Dollars

AP Photo/Gerry Broome
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Tax cuts are all the talk this week in the Florida legislature, as the House of Representatives just proposed a $690 million budget tax cut, besting Florida Governor Rick Scott’s January tax-cutting efforts by $15 million.

The grassroots organization Americans for Prosperity released a statement applauding the move by the Florida House to cut taxes and encouraged them to look for other “ways to cut waste”:

“Floridians should be proud of their elected officials who proposed cutting taxes by $690 million,” said State Director, Chris Hudson. “Allowing Floridians to keep more of their hard-earned money is exactly what the Florida legislature should be focused on accomplishing throughout the remainder of session. The House should continue to find ways to cut waste and give Floridians the opportunity to keep as much of their money as possible.”

Here is what the House tax cut proposal would do, according to the Miami Herald:

— Reduce the communications services tax by 3.6 percent: $470.5 million

— Reduce the sales tax on commercial leases from 6 percent to 5.8 percent: $53.1 million

— Exempt college textbooks and other instructional material from sales tax: $43.7 million.

— Raise the property tax exemption for residents who are widowed, blind or totally disabled: $41.3 million.

— Exempts certain agricultural items from the sales tax: $13.4 million.

— Creates a new corporate income tax credit for defense contracting companies who hire Florida-based contractors: $5.5 million.

— Exempts books and other reading materials sold at book fairs: $2.8 million

— Exempts support organizations from collecting sales tax if tax is paid on school concessions: $1.7 million.

— Exempts gun club memberships from sales tax: $1.2 million.

— Create a credit or refund for wholesales selling aviation fuel to a university based in Florida offering a graduate program in aeronautical or aerospace engineering and flight training through a school of aeronautics or college of aviation: $0.9 million.

— Exempts vehicles bought by service members overseas and brought back to Florida from the sales tax: $800,000..

— Increases exemptions for service members: $200,000.

— Back-to-School Sales tax holiday, July 31-Aug. 2: NA

— Sales tax exemption for items $1,000 or less sold by small businesses: NA

— Income tax credits for companies that engage in research in Florida: NA

— One-time increase in tax credits for environmental clean ups: NA

— Repeals any remaining exceptions to the 2005 elimination of estate tax repeal: NA

But all is not well between the two chambers of the Republican-led Florida legislature, who are at odds over accepting federal dollars to balance the state budget.

The Senate continues to push for the use of Obamacare dollars in the upcoming state budget, a move that most Floridians oppose, and one that the House has firmly been against ever since the federal dollars first came available.

The Senate’s recent $80.4 billion budget proposal, which includes $2.8 billion in Obamacare dollars allocated for health care coverage, also includes a $2.2 billion state program named the “Low Income Pool (or LIP) that helps hospitals treat uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid patients.”

The Florida Senate seems to think that embracing Obamacare is a winning endeavor.