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House Set To Approve Tax-Cut Package

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott said Sunday that he was never told by Homeland Security officials in 2016 when he was Florida's governor that Russian hackers had gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties ahead of the presidential election.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott before the Florida House.

The Republican-dominated Florida House on Thursday is poised to approve a $991.7 million tax-cut package, after rejecting additions and changes sought Wednesday by Democrats.

Gov. Rick Scott has made a top priority of providing $1 billion in tax cuts, and the House package (HB 7099) includes much of what the governor wants. The two-year package includes a 1 percentage-point reduction in a tax on commercial leases starting July 1, 2017 and would permanently eliminate a tax on manufacturing machinery.

The machinery tax is not currently being collected, but it is set to return in 2017. The commercial-lease tax would drop another percentage point in 2018 for a single year, under the House proposal.

The House plan also would go along with Scott on a one-year sales-tax exemption on college textbooks and a 10-day sales tax "holiday" on back-to-school items.

Other aspects of the plan include sales-tax holidays for items costing less than $1,000 at certain small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It also would provide a tax holiday for hunting and fishing gear on a single day in August and for personal computers and computer-related accessories on a day in April 2017 deemed the "technology" holiday.

Democrats, in part, sought Wednesday to make the tax holidays recurring events rather than making them subject to annual approval.

The Senate has not said how high it's willing to go on tax cuts, but it has matched another Scott proposal to spend $250 million on economic incentives.

The House is offering $80 million, which is still an increase from the $43 million that the public-private economic development agency Enterprise Florida received for the current fiscal year.

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