Scott’s tax breaks dwindle, but gov likes budget dealby John Kennedy | May 3rd, 2011
Within hours of legislative budget-writers declaring they had reached a deal Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott was praising it — although it only gives him about one-sixth of the tax breaks he demanded.
“These are great first steps and will move our state in the right directions,” Scott said, adding that the budget proposal meets his “core principles” of shrinking government, cutting taxes and overhauling public pensions.
Lawmakers are likely pleased with Scott’s early take, especially because — by the numbers — the first-year governor falls short of what he was wanting. Scott sought a $459 million, first-year reduction in the state’s corporate income tax, by reducing the state’s 5.5 percent rate to 3 percent.
Budget-writers, though, have agreed to a $30 million cut — fueled by increasing the state’s exemption on corporate taxpayers.
Currently, taxes aren’t owed by companies whose payments would total less than $5,000; lawmakers would boost that exemption to $25,000, with supporters saying it effectively exempts almost half of Florida’s businesses, most of them smaller companies.
Scott’s biggest tax-cut victory is in reducing water management district property-tax rates by more than $200 million. Other reductions include a $25.6 million back-t0-school sales tax holiday — which Scott didn’t even include in his wide-ranging tax-cut package.
But Scott seems happy. The proposal, he said, sends a message to other states, “that we are clearly open for business.”