Gov. Rick Scott is asking the Florida Legislature for $180 million in budget cuts for 2018, including a month’s worth of sales tax holidays and a drastic reduction in the cost of renewing a driver’s license.
The proposed tax cuts are part of the governor’s budget plan that he’ll submit to lawmakers. This will be Scott’s final spending proposal since he is set to leave office after next year due to terms limits.
Scott credits past tax cuts with strengthening the state’s economy. The unemployment rate stands at 3.8 percent while 1.3 million jobs have been created during the governor’s administration.
“All of this was accomplished while cutting taxes more than 75 times, saving more than $7.5 billion for Florida families and job creators,” Scott said. “Cutting taxes works and the rest of the nation needs to follow Florida’s lead.”
This latest round of proposed tax cuts are more geared to average consumers and would come during an election year in which Scott is expected to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
In his tax cut proposal, Scott is calling for a total of four weeks of sales tax holidays: one for back-to-school items and the other three would be separate week-long tax holidays for hurricane supplies to help Floridians prepare for next year’s hurricane season.
Scott says the devastation and hardships faced by state residents following Hurricane Irma was the impetus behind the multiple sales tax holidays for hurricane supplies.
“I will fight to cut $180 million in taxes for families. This includes sales tax holidays to help families get prepared for the school year and for hurricane season, which is especially important following the devastation we saw from Hurricane Irma,” said Scott. “I am also proposing to roll back many driver’s license fees, which will put money back into pockets of virtually every Florida family. These fees were raised in 2009 before I came into office, and I am proud to cut them by more than 58 percent to help every Floridian when they renew their license.”
Under Scott’s tax break plan, the cost for renewing a driver’s license would be cut by more than half. If approved by lawmakers, the cost to renew a license would drop from $48 to $20. The cost of an original license would go from $48 to $27.
The lower cost for renewing a license is expected to save Floridians $87 million, while the four weeks of sales tax holidays would allow residents to keep $88 million in their pockets.
Despite forecasts by state economists that lawmakers might face a lean budget next year due to the unexpected $600 million in expenses from Irma, Scott said last week the state’s economy is still growing at a rate which should prevent any budget problems.