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Biz group fights to keep insurance industry's $220 million tax cut with new TV ad

Associated Industries of Florida has launched a campaign to save a $220 million tax break for insurance companies, releasing a new 30-second spot recently.

The influential business group is protesting the proposal of Florida’s Senate Budget Chairman, Joe Negron, who surprised many last month with a plan to eliminate the tax break in order to lower car registration fees for consumers.

The tax break was created in 1987 to help recruit insurance companies to Florida. Negron questioned whether it had outlived its usefulness and said the lost revenue could be used to lower the cost of car registrations (the Legislature hiked those fees in 2009).

The insurance industry—which normally gets along with the business-friendly Legislature--protested the proposal, calling it a “tax hike.” It passed through the Senate Appropriations committee anyway.

Now, the business lobby is making its appeal directly to consumers in a campaign-style TV ad. 

“Major employers are coming to Florida, and hiring. That’s growth our economy needs” the ad’s narrator says as images depicting booming commerce flash across the screen. “But now, some in Tallahassee want to end it.”

The ad says the tax cut helped create the 40,000 insurance jobs that have been added in Florida in the last five years. It closes with the slogan, “Keep the working tax cut. Keep the Jobs.”

Words you won’t hear in the ad are: “insurance companies” or “lower driver’s license fees,” as the commercial does not lay out the details of the “working tax cut” or why lawmakers are considering scrapping it.

See the ad here.