A Florida Senate bill that would funnel additional state cigarette tax dollars to the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa was approved by the Senate Health Policy Committee today. Senate Bill (SB) 866 goes now to the Senate Finance and Tax Committee.
Senate staff estimated SB 866 will increase the funds directed to Moffitt from $15.6 million annually to $26.9 million (an $11.4 million increase over the current year) from Fiscal Year 2021-2022 through Fiscal Year 2023-2024. Starting in Fiscal Year 2024-2025, the funds directed to Moffitt are estimated to be $38.4 million annually (a $22.9 million increase over current law). If the bill does not pass, that money will go to the state’s general revenue fund.
According to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ed Hooper (R-Pasco County), Moffitt will use the additional money, in part, to build a new “comprehensive cancer research and treatment center” on an 800-acre parcel in Pasco County
The site is adjacent to the Suncoast Parkway, south of State Road 52.
Hooper told the committee Moffit is the third busiest cancer center in the country and growing fast. It serves patients from all over Florida, the U.S. and internationally.
He said, “Florida has the second highest cancer burden in the country, and no place responds like Moffitt Cancer Center.”
SB 866 passed the Health Policy Committee vote unanimously.
Senator Janet Cruz (D-Hillsborough County) said there are few fights she’s willing to engage in, but this was one of them.
“We need to show more love to Moffitt Cancer Center,” she told the committee.
An identical bill, House Bill 789, is in the Florida House and both bills are expected to be considered during Florida’s legislative session which starts March 2.