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Commissioner Mike Cella opposes bill that threatens to reduce tax revenue to county

Posted 2/22/24

GREEN COVE SPRINGS –  Vice Chair Mike Cella spoke out in opposition to a proposed state bill during a Board of County Commissioners meeting last week. “Currently, as we speak (there is a …

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Commissioner Mike Cella opposes bill that threatens to reduce tax revenue to county


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Vice Chair Mike Cella spoke out in opposition to a proposed state bill during a Board of County Commissioners meeting last week.

“Currently, as we speak (there is a development) at the state capital,” Cella began.

“They’re ripping home rule right out from under 67 counties. There’s a bill hitting the Ways and Means Committee tomorrow which will do a number of things, but one, it’ll take the ability to use sales tax away from the counties, (such as) the half-cent sales tax,” he said.

The referendum every 10 years effectively limits the ability to bond that money, Cella said. He said it limits the financial impact of what that half-cent sales tax can do.

The next day, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the new bill in a 16-6 vote. After a quick stop through the Appropriations Committee, the bill is on its way to an assembly vote in the Florida House of Representatives. 

How could this bill impact Clay County? How much does a half-cent sales tax even add up to?

"Staff estimates the total state and local government impact of the bill in fiscal year 2024-25 is -$647.3 million (-$28.6 million recurring)," said Cella, referring to whether the bill was signed into law. 

Like most legislation, the bill is bundled by seemingly unrelated objectives. It would create a 14-day “back-to-school” tax holiday in July and August of this year, decrease the business rent tax rate to 1.25% for one year, create a corporate income tax credit for businesses that hire persons with disabilities and more. 

These objectives, even those that appear meaningful, come with a hefty price tag to local governments, evidently. 

The bill would limit new tourist-development taxes, often known as bed taxes, to six years. Also, voter approval would be required by July 1, 2029, for existing tourist-development taxes to continue.

Importantly, these are taxes that county residents typically would not pay for. 

Bed taxes are imposed on visitors who stay in accommodations such as hotels, motels, vacation rentals and campgrounds. The revenue generated from this tax is used to fund tourism-related projects and services that benefit the community.

The full bill is here:

https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?PublicationType=Committees&CommitteeId=3208&Session=2024&DocumentType=proposed%20committee%20bill%20analyses&FileName=pcb05.WMC.pdf