Florida is using Covid funds for tax relief

$1.24 billion in tax relief is soon headed to Florida residents. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in May signed a bill that will provide no less than ten statewide sales tax holidays that begin this summer, with some running through 2024. 

“In Florida, we are going to support our residents and help them afford the goods that they need,” DeSantis said after signing the bill into law. “Florida has been fiscally responsible, so we are in a good position to provide meaningful relief for families, right now.”

This is the largest middle-class tax relief package in Florida history. Of the $1.24 billion, one of the most substantial holidays will come through a month-long suspension of the state’s 25.3 cent per gallon tax on gasoline, which is expected to save Florida drivers $200 million. 

The entire sales tax holiday schedule, which includes nine other holidays, is included below. 

May 14 – August 14, 2022 – Children’s Books ($3.3 million)

May 28 – June 10, 2022 – Disaster Preparedness ($25.6 million)

July 1 – July 7, 2022 – Event Tickets & Recreational Equipment ($70.6 million)

July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 – Children’s Diapers ($38.9 million)

July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 – Baby Clothes & Shoes ($81.5 million)

July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 – Energy Star Appliances ($78.5 million)

July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024 – Impact Resistant Windows, Doors, and Garage Doors ($442.8 million)

July 25 – August 7, 2022 – School Supplies, Clothing, Shoes, and Backpacks ($100 million)

September 3-9, 2022 – Tools and Other Home Improvement Items ($12.4 million)

October 1-31, 2022 – Fuel Tax Holiday ($200 million)

According to the Washington Post, a large percentage of the funding for these tax breaks, around $200 million, came from federal Covid funds. Though there is a federal prohibition against using Covid funds for tax relief, the Governor DeSantis’ office calls the prohibition “not legally valid.”

Many legislators and governors appear to agree with DeSantis, as nearly two dozen states are considering or have implemented tax cuts as a result of the Covid relief funds. Additionally, state attorneys general have challenged the prohibition and have won consistently. 

Alabama has not attempted to provide tax relief using federal funding.

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