Gov. Rick Scott was in Miami Wednesday to promote the state’s upcoming three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday (Aug. 4-6 for backpacks and certain other school items that cost $60 or less). A photo released by the governor’s office shows Scott surrounded by young children at the Office Depot Foundation, where he said he’s working to help every Florida child get “a great education.”
At the same time, the Tax Foundation issued a report that calls sales tax holidays “politically expedient but poor tax policy, costing states revenue while providing little benefit.”
The report can be found here.
The group says Florida is one of 16 states with tax holidays this year, compared to a nationwide high of 19 states in 2010. The report says that pro-holiday politicians “distort consumer decisions” by picking and choosing which consumer items are tax-free, and that sales tax holidays favor big businesses over Mom-and-Pop retailers because the big retail chains use it as a form of free advertising.
Some news outlets have accused the Tax Foundation, founded in 1937, of peddling propaganda and of having a conservative bias, but Governor Scott himself has cited the foundation’s statistics when they have portrayed Florida as having a stronger pro-business tax climate than other states.
Here’s a link to the Department of Revenue’s web page explaining how the back-to-school tax holiday works.