Senate signs off on Scott manufacturing tax breakby Dara Kam | May 1st, 2013
With less than 72 hours left in the session and two priorities of House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz hanging in the balance, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a manufacturing equipment tax break, one of just two items on Gov. Rick Scott’s wishlist.
The modified tax break approved by a 37-3 vote late Wednesday would exempt manufacturers from paying sales tax on manufacturing equipment for three years. Scott’s original proposal would have cost the state about $100 million per year, but the plan approved by the Senate would shrink that to about $18 million, according to the amendment’s sponsor, Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange. Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale and Democratic Sens. Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth and Arthenia Joyner of Tampa voted against it.
“(Scott’s) had modest requests this session. I think we need to get behind him,” Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said before the vote.
Lawmakers moved closer to Scott’s other priority – a $2,500 across-the-board pay raise for teachers – yesterday.
Meanwhile, Scott has until midnight tonight to act on two of the GOP leaders top priorities: ethics and campaign finance measures.
Scott has repeatedly voiced concerns about the campaign finance changes, pushed by Weatherford, which would increase current $500 campaign contribution limits for statewide candidates like Scott, who is running for reelection, to $3,000 and to $1,000 for legislative and local candidates.