If it looks like a tax, smells like a tax, and reads like a tax, then it’s probably a tax, but don’t tell Sen. Joe Gruters (R) and all of the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee who last week unanimously voted (18-0) to pass the SB 50 Sales and Use Tax measure, or as some would call it, a bill that would become "single LARGEST TAX INCREASE in the history of the state of Florida."
Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) is one of the Democrats who support this sales tax and voted for it in committee.
While the bill, which could make a dent into the $2.7 billion revenue shortfall the state faces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has obviously received praise and support in the Senate chamber, House Republicans don’t see it quite the way their senate colleagues do.
Conservative stalwart Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who will be announcing a congressional run in Central Florida this week, calls Sen. Gruters’ bill “the single LARGEST TAX INCREASE in the history of the state of Florida.”
“If passed—this online sales tax bill (SB 50) will be the single LARGEST TAX INCREASE in the history of the state of Florida,” tweeted Rep. Sabatini. “ANY consideration of this Bill MUST include a $650,000,000+ offset of other existing taxes—otherwise this is a major tax hike.
Some House Republicans, including Speaker Chris Sprowls, support the tax increase and believe that a “sales tax already exists” in the state.
"I'd rule out tax increases, but what you're suggesting is something like the sales tax collection on something," Speaker Sprowls recently said. "You know, sales tax already exists, you know, there's a sales tax in the state of Florida."
Sprowls makes a good point, but will DeSantis sign off on this “Sales and Use Tax” bill in order to cut into the huge budget gap caused by the pandemic?
Remember, DeSantis is one of those ‘Less Taxes, No New Taxes’ governors.
If DeSantis does sign off on the bill, it won’t hurt him in his 2020 reelection campaign but would come up during the 2024 Republican presidential primary race, if DeSantis decides to enter the presidential primary sweepstakes.
Sure, Democrats will call DeSantis a hypocrite because of his past anti-tax attack against disgraced former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, but it won't sting him that hard.
Behind President Donald Trump, DeSantis is the favorite to win the Republican nomination.