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TaxWatch weighs in with its list of potential tax break repeals

The audience of special interest lobbyists rushed forward to get a copy of the single-page sheet of paper  Florida TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro wanted to show the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. It was the list of sales tax exemptions and excluded services that the business-backed tax research organization thought might be ripe for a discussion on removing the sales tax exemption.

On the list, $224.8 million in annual exemptions for: charter fishing boats, bottled water, veterinary medicines, sales of religious items, movie theate concession rent, subsidies for the Professional Golf Hall of Fame and the International Game Fish Association, skyboxes rented by high school and college  sports teams, and sales of  U.S. and state flags.

TaxWatch also suggests it might be time to debate imposing a tax on these services:  barber shops and beauty salons, dry cleaning and laundry, valet parking, photo finishing, pet care, fitiness facilities, pest control and lawn services and sightseeing bus trasnporation. Their annual potential revenue: $335.8 million.

TaxWatch culled the list of $560,6 million in exemptions based on "generally accepted standards of tax fairness,'' Calabro said."We're not saying go forth and tax these things. These items did not meet the criteria that were reviewed.'' But of the more than $12 billion in sales tax exemptions, $10 billion of which include food, medicine, housing and necessities, these "are more likely'' to be eligible for repeal, he said.

"Thanks for coming out and being bold enough'' to present a list, said Sen. Ken Pruitt, a St. Lucie Republican. He said the tax debate should not be about finding new money but about reforming the tax base to sustain itself for a stronger, better future. "Florida is not going to be a cheap state anymore and that's okay with me,'' Pruitt said. "We're not going ot have growth for growth's sake.''


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Mary Diaz

Florida Tax Watch, needs to investigate the expenses that the State of Florida Citizens taxes are being misused and abused annually by the Florida Parole Commission over 250 million dollars for approximately 12,000 men and women in Florida Prisons, sent back on Technical Violations.
Technial Violations are determined by the Florida Parole Commission. This could be for being late on a set curfew, not showing up to a scheduled supervision appointment, failing a drug test, late on supervision fees.
This results in keeping thousands of men and women in prison costing tax payers millions of dollars when they could be participating tax payers.
When Florida is facing a depression and reaching 12% unemployment, Top on the List of Foreclosures, Cuts in Education, College Scholarships, Law Enforcement. Cuts in services to the elderly Florida Population so that they may remain in their homes and not end up in a Nursing Home, costing Florida Tax Payers 3 times what it would cost if they stay in their homes with programs that assist them to stay at home. Quote per AARP Article!
I would like to know what are the plans of Florida Political Leaders that have been made aware of this by email, mail, faxes and what solutions they are planning on to end this abusive expense of taxes.
Collins Center for Public Policy - Smart Justice Coaliation has united with political leaders that have seen the serious situation Florida is facing and are uniting in Reforming the Florida Prison System.
Investing in building schools and not building more prisons to house our future leaders that due to the lack of funding will not be able to get the education they need to be Florida's next Political Leader.
I challenge the news media, and Florida Citizens to contact their politicians and those running for Senate, Governor of Florida and CFO of Florida and ask them what their plans are and what they are doing about this.

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