PUNTA GORDA, Fla.–Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a $1.2 billion tax relief bill on May 6 to help Floridians—especially families with children—fight what he called “Biden-flation headwinds.”
“This is actually the largest tax relief in the history of the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in Ocala, dwarfed by a wall of disposable diapers and surrounded by families with small children. “The tax relief you’re going to see is breaks for really critical needs like gas, diapers, disaster supplies, tools for skilled trades, and recreational activities. Families are going to be able to save for things that really matter for them.”
He said that even though wages have gone up by 8 percent, the cost of goods has gone up 8.5 percent. He believes, however, the percentage is closer to 10 percent on things that are necessary for “daily lives” like fuel, groceries, and utilities.
“That’s where we find ourselves having to fight,” he told the crowd. “I think really this is a federally induced inflationary spiral.”
Because Florida does not have a state income tax, the governor said they had to figure out ways for tax relief.
Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris said the tax holidays will help thousands of families and also the foster and adoptive families throughout the state. She estimated that there are more than one million children under the age of 5 living in the state of Florida with 600 newborns arriving each day.
“My kids are older now, but I remember all too well those earlier days. They grow up so fast, and it seemed like my husband and I were always running to the store to buy new clothes and especially diapers,” Harris said, recalling her experiences as a parent with young children.
In the first year of a child’s life, it is estimated that parents go through approximately 3,000 diapers, or on average eight diapers per day, Harris said. “I know every penny saved counts.”
Beginning July 1 of this year until July 1, 2023, diapers, clothes and shoes for babies and toddlers will be tax free, along with a three-month tax break on children’s books from May 14 through August 14 that leads into the school year. The back-to-school tax holiday—covering school supplies, clothing, shoes and backpacks—will be from July 25 through August 7.
In addition, DeSantis said a $200 million gas tax holiday will be in effect October 1 to October 31 that is estimated to save Floridians 25 cents per gallon.
DeSantis also announced, “Freedom Week” from July 1 through July 7, with tax-exempted boating, camping, fishing, outdoor and sports equipment, so “families can afford a fun summer.”
Other tax holidays included in the bill are the annual disaster preparedness that lasts from May 28 through June 10, and impact resilient windows, doors, and garage doors beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2023. Also, Energy Star appliances will not be taxed for one year from July 1 until June 30, 2023.
A mother of four small children Kylie Park said this tax holiday comes at a time that is critical for her family as she is a stay-at-home mom married to a first responder.
“Every penny counts,” she said. “With rising prices everywhere we look, every trip to the store is a balancing act trying to figure out what we actually need—and what can wait until our next paycheck.”
Park said the savings she will see in the tax holidays that the governor announced will “help put money back in the pockets of families just like mine.”
DeSantis took the time to criticize the Biden administration’s handling of the economy.
“The feds are just going to keep raising interest rates, and it’s gonna slow down the economy,” he said. “If you have a Biden-induced recession, which I hope doesn’t happen, but if you do, we ended up having different revenue forecasts and I don’t need to change anything.”
DeSantis said that if he did have to make changes based on a recessionary economy, he would just “grab some money here from the rainy-day fund and plug it in” where necessary.
“We just keep going. We’re not going to miss a beat.”
The governor said that the nation was energy independent prior to January of 2021 and that the nation has not seen any “real relief” even though the Biden administration has taken some fuel from the strategic petroleum reserves.
“That’s a political stunt,” DeSantis said. “That is not going to make up for all the lack of production and everything that the administration has done to try to stop us producing our own energy.”
Families are now “dialing back” on certain things like entertainment and are making tough decisions with their family budgets.
“I think D.C. should be unleashing American energy right now because it would make a difference,” he told the cheering crowd.