Following the announcement that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law HB 5601 today, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam issued the following statement:
“Governor Rick Scott not only cut more than $121 million in taxes for Florida's families with the signing for HB 5601 today, he also provided long-term, sustainable funding for the education of Florida's next generation. I appreciate Gov. Scott's support for this legislation, which shifts more than $160 million per year to support Florida's classrooms.
“By signing HB 5601, Gov. Scott also established a sales tax holiday for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances, creating savings for Floridians on the purchase of these appliances, as well as on their utility bills.
“Gov. Scott's investment in Florida's children, consumers and businesses will have a lasting impact for generations to come. I appreciate his support for these measures to cut taxes and promote Florida's economic growth. I would also like to thank Senate President Don Gaetz, House Speaker Will Weatherford, Sen. Joe Negron and Rep. McKeel in working diligently to get this legislation passed.”
These priorities of Commissioner Putnam, part of a bill originally filed by Sen. Anitere Flores and Rep. Mike Hill, will direct more than $160 million annually to fund the state's Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) trust fund, which provides money for education infrastructure at Florida's schools, colleges and universities. PECO, funded in part through a tax on land-line telephones, has diminished from nearly $200 million six years ago to just $73 million last year. The legislation shifts revenue from 2.6 percent of the 7 percent collected on the commercial electricity sales tax to support PECO.
The legislation also reduces the sales tax rate that Florida's employers pay on electricity consumption, saving Florida business owners $3.1 million.
In addition, the legislation provides a three-day tax holiday for consumers who purchase Energy Star or WaterSense appliances. Consumers would pay no tax on the first $1,500 on these appliances purchased on Sept. 19-21, 2014.