State Watch

DeSantis signs Florida ‘tax holidays’ into law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday signed into law “tax holidays,” or suspensions of taxes, for products such as back-to-school supplies and certain activities in order to encourage spending in the state following the loosening of coronavirus restrictions. 

The legislation, which will include a “Freedom Week” from July 1 to 7, was signed during a ceremony in Pensacola, Fla.

“We’re proud of being a free state, we’re proud of being open, and we want taxpayers to be able to benefit if they’re participating in all these things,” he said at the ceremony held at a local Home Depot. 

The retired founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, has donated $500,000 to DeSantis’s political committee, according to the Orlando Sentinel

A Home Depot spokesperson later told The Hill that Marcus has been retired from the company for nearly 20 years, and that the event was unrelated to his political contributions.

“If you look around the country we’re a free state. Many of these states are not free states, unfortunately,” said DeSantis, who earlier this month lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions in Florida. 

The tax holiday legislation is expected to save Floridians about $168 million, according to The Associated Press, and establishes several periods in which consumers in Florida will not have to pay sales tax on certain products and activities. 

The AP noted that the tax holidays are expected to be offset by state taxes on online purchases. 

During the first period, which will run from May 28 to June 6, taxes will be waived on certain products consumers commonly purchase in preparation for hurricane season, including flashlights, radios, tarps, gas tanks and batteries. 

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will start on the first day of June and last through Nov. 30. 

During “Freedom Week,” taxes will be removed from some recreational purchases in the state, including tickets to concerts and museums. 

Consumers will also not have to pay sales taxes from July 31 to Aug. 9 on some back-to-school items, including certain backpacks and clothes, as well as the first $1,000 for a computer. 

DeSantis who has continuously pushed to reopen Florida’s economy and resume normal activities in the state amid the pandemic, said earlier this month upon suspending all remaining restrictions that it was “the evidence-based thing to do.” 

“I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point — if you’re saying that, you really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data, you don’t believe in the science,” he said at the time, adding that he believed the Sunshine State was “no longer in a state of emergency.”

Other states have since followed in lifting restrictions, such as statewide mask mandates, following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The guidance states that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks in most settings. 

—Updated at 4:32 p.m.

Tags Florida Home Depot Orlando Sentinel Ron DeSantis Sales tax state taxes tax holiday The Associated Press

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