As Florida House representatives began reviewing Florida’s sales tax exemptions, the effort to reform the tax code and plug the revenue holes was essentially over before it even began. The House council making the review began arguing for expanding tax exemptions for health clubs and defending tax-free $1000 Super Bowl tickets after only a few minutes into their meeting.
“If a $5 billion budget hole doesn’t result in a real evaluation,” said Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, “I’m not sure you’ll ever see one.”
But even as education and other government programs face dramatic slashes with a state budget gap that may grow to $5 billion or more, do not expect many of the tax loopholes to be closed this year.
During the meeting of the House Finance and Tax Council last week where dozens of tax breaks were discussed, there was little passion for changing anything.
“I kept my expectations low so it wasn’t disappointing,” said Randolph. “It’s more a game at this point. Every lobbyist and every special interest will tell you, ‘Oh, we need that exemption. It’s for economic development.'” [Sarasota Herald Tribune]