This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a tax proposal he said he would push next year if reelected that would offer Floridians $1.1 billion in tax relief.

“Included in the proposal is an expansion of the annual Back to School tax holiday and permanent tax exemptions for baby and toddler items in addition to a yearlong tax exemption on other household items families need every day,” the governor’s office noted.

“I’m proud that Florida has a record budget surplus and am happy to propose historic tax relief to Florida families,” said DeSantis. “This proposal will allow families to purchase items for their children at a lower cost and help families keep more money in their pockets. I look forward to working with the Legislature to bring this major relief to Florida families.”

“Governor DeSantis and I both have young families, and we understand the burden of necessary expenses associated with essentials such as diapers, school supplies, and gas,” said Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Sec. Dane Eagle. “Today’s announcement proves that Governor DeSantis is continuing to work tirelessly to lift up Florida families. With today’s supply chain issues and outrageous inflation, this tax relief initiative will help Florida families stretch their dollars further.”

DeSantis called for retaining the two weeks back to school sales tax holiday in the fall and adding a similar one in spring, noting the two sales tax holidays would offer $210 million in tax relief. The governor also called for a “permanent tax exemption for baby and toddler necessities including diapers, baby wipes, clothing, and shoes for children under the age of five,” which would save Floridians around $132 million and a “permanent tax exemption for cribs and strollers” which would offer around $4 million in savings.

The governor also proposed a “ permanent tax exemption on items that contain medicinal ingredients and medical equipment to close the gap on medical supplies and equipment that is not sales tax exempt,” which would save Floridians around $58.5 million.

DeSantis also proposed a series of one-year tax exemptions for “household items under $25 like laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, and trash bags….children’s books for children under 17 years old….children’s toys designated for children between the ages of 2-12…children’s athletic equipment like children’s bikes, footballs, soccer balls, rollerblades, baseballs, baseball bats, etc….pet food for household pets and a permanent tax exemption for over-the-counter pet medications such as flea and tick prevention.” These proposals would save Floridians around $468 million.

The governor also said he would support other current tax holidays, including the two-week Disaster Preparedness Tax Holiday, the week-long Tools and Home Improvement Tax Holiday and the Freedom Week Tax Holiday and extending the Energy Star Appliance Tax Holiday for another year.

Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, offered his take on the proposals this week.

“Floridians are experiencing the consequences of record inflation every time they make a purchase, whether it’s necessities like diapers and pet food or recreational items such as sporting equipment and concert tickets. Florida TaxWatch commends Governor DeSantis and enthusiastically supports his Family-Focused Tax Relief proposal, as it will relieve this incremental, yet substantial burden on hard-working men and women across the state who are doing their best to provide for their families and help them have full, productive lives. As the ‘eyes and ears’ of taxpayers, we are thought leaders in this space and look forward to continuing this incredibly important conversation into the 2023 Legislative Session and beyond,” Calabro said.

Kevin Derby
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