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Florida Back-To-School Sales Tax 'Holiday' Gets Initial Senate Support

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) -- A Senate panel Tuesday gave initial approval to a back-to-school tax "holiday," but the proposal likely will be mixed into a broader tax package during the 2022 legislative session.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee approved a proposal (SB 500), filed by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, that would offer a 10-day sales tax holiday just before the 2022-2023 school year.

During the period, shoppers would be able to avoid paying sales taxes when they buy clothes, personal computers and school supplies. The proposal would apply to clothes and backpacks that cost $60 or less, personal computers that cost $1,000 or less and school supplies that cost $15 or less.

Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-North Miami Beach, half jokingly suggested a separate "holiday" period in December, "when my kid loses his backpack" and people typically need to reup on supplies.

"Every one of us here has given away backpacks and school supplies in and around the same time," Pizzo said. "It's like around December when that stuff gets stolen, damaged, when they need a new one. Can we consider a mini-holiday in December?"

In the past, such holidays have ended up in wide-ranging tax packages passed late in legislative sessions. The 2022 session will start Jan. 11.

A $196.3 million tax package approved for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, included a 10-day back-to-school tax holiday in August. State economists estimated Floridians would save $69.4 million during the shopping period.

(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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