Tallahassee has been buzzing for a couple of months now getting ready for opening day on January 9, 2024. Even though our legislators are hard at work with drafts of general bills, memorials, joint resolutions, and companion bills, the recently highlighted buzz is focused on the Governor’s Future Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2024-2025.

Due to Florida’s noted success over the prior 5-year period of a #1 ranking in education, net in-migrations, entrepreneurship, and new business formations. The recommended budget is $4.6 billion dollars less than the current year’s budget of $114.4 billion dollars. The budget also continues the fiscal conservative theme of paying down $455 million dollars in additional debt and providing $1.1 billion dollars in tax relief to Floridians. The recommended budget is quite comprehensive, and I plan to cover one topic per week. This week let’s cover Tax Relief For Florida Families.

Tax Relief For Florida Families is targeted to provide Florida families with savings of more than $1.1 billion in tax relief which is focused on reducing homeowner insurance premium costs and renewing four Florida sales tax holidays. There is an estimated $431 million in savings to lower insurance premiums for Florida homeowners. These savings are based upon “a one-year exemption on taxes, fees, and assessments for residential property insurance policyholders for $409 million.” This savings cover “the cost of select taxes, fees, and assessments for residential property insurance policies with a coverage amount of up to $750,000 written between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025, for a twelve-month coverage period.” “These include the Insurance Premium Tax, the State Fire Marshall Assessment, and the Florida Insurance Guarantee Association (FIGA) Assessment. A permanent insurance premium tax exemption on Flood Insurance Policies for $22 million”. These savings reduce the cost of flood insurance policies effective on or after July 1, 2024.

The Florida Sales Tax Holidays savings are projected to save Florida over $475 million dollars. “Freedom Summer” sales tax holiday from Memorial Day to Labor Day is projected to save Florida families more than $241 million. These holiday savings cover outdoor recreation purchase items for camping and fishing and other outdoor activities. The tax reduction applies to the “first $500 of the sales price of kayaks or canoes, the first $200 of the sales price of tents, as well as tickets for events, museums, the arts, and more”. There are two Back-to-School sales tax holidays estimated to save Florida families $169 million. These sales tax holidays “cover clothing up to $100, school supplies up to $50, and personal computers and related accessories priced $1,500 or less.” There are also two 14-day Disaster Preparedness sales tax holidays estimated to save Florida families $49 million on “generators priced at $1,000 or less both at the start and height of hurricane season. Also, the recommended budget includes a 7-day tool time sales tax holiday which is estimated to save Floridian workers $16 million on equipment and tools. Small businesses owners were included in the savings with a projected $170 million in permanent tax relief for small businesses. “There is an increase of the sales tax collection allowance to save small businesses $165 million. “This increases the collection allowance from the current 2.5 percent of the sales taxes collected on a return up to a maximum of $30 to the first $60 of the amount of the tax otherwise due.” The Governor also included a $5 million dollar permanent reduction in corporate income taxes for businesses employing Floridians with unique abilities. This provides a credit against the corporate income tax for businesses employing persons with unique abilities of $1,000 per person subject to an annual cap of $5 million.”

“Success is not something that is handed to a state as large as Florida, it requires a steadfast commitment to supporting families at every step,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “By expanding workforce education for high-demand jobs, providing family-first tax relief, ensuring that Florida’s students can access a quality education that fits their needs, investing in resilient infrastructure, and putting conservative principles at the forefront of every decision, we have delivered time and again for our residents. Florida’s success is proof positive that when you establish a foundation of governing on conservative principles and protect the freedom of your residents, success will follow.”

Governor Ron DeSantis’s statement above is The Straight Truth. We must plan, expand, educate, invest, and provide conservative fiscal management and principles to those we serve whether we are servicing the entire State of Florida or Our Local Jackson County citizens. On August 2024 & November 2024, I hope you remember the Governor’s words and vote to elect like-minded people who want success and freedom for our citizens. I will leave you with that thought and that concludes this week’s The Straight Truth With Mary Ann Hutton.