March 22, 2021

Corporate Tax Break Amendment Ruins Online Sales Tax Bill

Florida Policy Institute does not support the current version of SB 50/HB 15.

In its original form, the legislation rightly included language stipulating that revenue generated from modernizing enforcement of online sales tax collections would go directly into the general revenue fund. These dollars could have then been invested in things that benefit communities — affordable health care services, increasing teacher pay, parks and beaches, and job training programs, to name just a few.

This language was a key provision of the legislation because sales tax, by nature, is regressive, placing the biggest burden on those with the least ability to pay. These same Floridians have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and economic crisis.

However, the amendment made to the bill in early March turns it into yet another tax break for businesses. Dollars that should be earmarked for public services, which benefit Floridians with low and moderate income — those who would, by and large, use the greatest share of their money to pay for the online sales tax — would instead go to replenish the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

It’s also worth noting that there is nothing in the language about actually fixing Florida’s broken unemployment insurance system, ranked as one of the nation’s worst.

We urge lawmakers to prioritize the needs of Floridians, not corporations. This legislation should not move forward as amended. Any revenue raised through the enforcement of the online sales tax should be put into the general revenue fund to support investments that will mitigate the unprecedented hardships that Floridians continue to face, and foster a broadly shared economic recovery.

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