TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – New revenue estimates reveal Florida will have $3.75 billion less to spend the coming fiscal year. Florida could have mitigated at least half of this shortfall if the state had taken steps to collect the taxes it is already owed. Florida Tax Watch has estimated that Florida is losing between $2 and $4 billion dollars every year by failing to collect the tax on remote sales. “Had Florida acted to collect these un-remitted taxes when I first introduced this legislation in 2009, significant pressure would have been placed on Congress to fully collect these taxes nationwide,” says Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee).
It is not too late for the legislature to act. Authorizing Florida to join the interstate compact on Streamlined Sales Taxes could generate approximately $50 million from companies that voluntarily comply with remote sales tax collection laws. That cash is enough to keep over 1000 teachers working. “This is not a new tax, this is collecting the money we are already owed. If we are going to run Florida like a business, than no business ignores its accounts receivables,” said Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda.
According to the Associated Press (AP), other states are building momentum behind the pressure on Congress to act. Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island have already adopted laws redefining a retailer’s presence in their states. Lawmakers in Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, Missouri and California are also considering such legislation.
A broad coalition of Florida organizations support legislation (HB 455) to collect the taxes we are already owed. They include the Florida Retail Federation, Associated Industries, the National Association of Independent Businesses and the Florida Chamber of Commerce among many more. AP also points out that Wal-Mart and other large and small retailers across the country believe in Main street Fairness.
“This is a conservative approach to solving our deficit. It is absolutely necessary for Florida and our nation to modernize our tax structure to keep pace in a global economy,” said Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda. “I am working hard to convince Republican leaders this legislation deserves a hearing.”
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