AUSTIN — Gov.
Scott announced Friday he would sign a $4.4 billion package of tax cuts, including $3 billion in new revenue for education, as he tried to get a Republican-controlled Legislature to back his sweeping tax overhaul.
Scott, who campaigned on a promise to lower taxes and put more money in the state’s pockets, said the tax cuts would boost the economy and give Florida residents more time to rebuild after Hurricane Irma and other storms.
But many of the proposals in the $1.1 trillion package would likely raise taxes on the middle class and lower them on corporations.
He also proposed reducing property taxes by about one-third, which he said would help people afford their homes.
The package would raise taxes for individuals, couples and families making more than $75,000 a year and also raise the estate tax to pay for the state budget.
The proposal is likely to get little support in the Republican-led Legislature, which is controlled by Scott and Lt.
“It’s important for us to have a plan that will work for the long-term,” Scott said in an interview.
“We need to make sure we’re not hurting our residents or our economy.”
The governor said he would not accept a proposal to lower property taxes on high-income Floridians.
That is because property values in the wealthy part of the state have already been dropping since the hurricane.
Scott said he wanted to take the pressure off the people of Florida to rebuild, and to create jobs.
“People need a lot of time,” he said.
“They need a plan for them and I don’t want to hurt the people who are in the middle of it.”
Florida Gov.-elect Mike Bowers, a Democrat, said he has been asked by several Republican senators if they will consider the proposal.
He said the state should look to the Florida Panthers hockey team, which has been playing in Europe.
Bowers said he believes the state has enough money in its coffers to rebuild and that he supports the tax overhaul, but said he wants to see it passed in the Legislature.
“I don’t have any hard feelings about that,” he told reporters Friday afternoon.
Bower also said he supports giving a small amount of new tax money to universities and community colleges, but he wants more.
“You’ve got to have the ability to create more jobs in Florida,” he added.
“The people of the Commonwealth of Florida are going to be better off than they are right now.”
Bowers called the package “fairly progressive” and said he expects it to pass the Legislature and become law.
“This is a very fair package, and I believe it will pass in the Senate,” he says.
But the state Senate will have to vote on the package.
Bays, who was sworn in on Friday, has said the Republican plan to boost the state economy is “not going to happen.”
The Republican-majority Legislature has not scheduled a vote on a budget proposal in two weeks.
Bets package would be the biggest piece of new revenue the state Legislature has seen in two decades.
It would also add $1 billion to the $843 million that the state already has in the bank.
The state budget will go into effect July 1, 2019.
Bowers, who is also governor-elect, is set to meet with lawmakers this week to discuss a tax plan.
He says he wants the package to include $2 billion in additional revenue for schools and for veterans.
The governor has been working to bring Florida back from the brink of bankruptcy and into the recovery after Hurricane Harvey.
Last week, Scott said a tax overhaul could bring in as much as $8 billion to Florida’s coffers and would create 1,500 new jobs.
“It’s time for us in Florida to get back to being a better place,” Scott says in the video released by the governor’s office Friday.