Tallahassee, Florida –On March 13, 2014, the Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Joe Negron (R-Stuart), unanimously approved Senate Bill 156, Motor Vehicle License Taxes. The bill, sponsored by Chair Negron, would reduce certain annual vehicle registration fees by nearly $400 million.
“Our starting point for this year’s tax cut package was legislation passed by the Senate last session which reduced vehicle registration fees by more than $230 million,” said Chair Negron. “From day one we committed to making a reduction in vehicle fees the centerpiece of meaningful tax relief for Florida’s families. I’m pleased that as the bill moved through the committee process, we gained support within the Senate to increase the amount and scope of this needed reduction in fees and I’m grateful to Governor Scott and our colleagues in the House for their leadership on this important issue.”
Senate Bill 156 reduces certain annual fees paid to register a motor vehicle to the amount paid prior to 2009. Based on the latest estimates, the bill reduces fees by $395 million. Annual vehicle registration fees were raised during the height of Florida’s economic decline in 2009, a year when state general revenue collections had declined more than 22 percent since their high in 2005-2006.
As Florida’s economy continues to rebound, tax relief is a joint priority of Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) who announced a $500 million tax and fee reduction as a key component of their 5-point Work Plan 2014 joint legislative agenda.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed four additional Work Plan Florida 2014 priorities today: CS/CS/SB 846 by Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater), SB 928 by Senator Jeremy Ring (D-Margate), SB 1648 by the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability, and Senate Bill 732 by Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton).
Aiming to increase the standard of ethics across the state, SB 846 extends specific provisions within the Code of Ethics, such as anti-nepotism provisions, voting conflict standards, and post-employment lobbying restrictions, to statutorily created quasi-governmental entities, like the Florida Clerk of Courts, Enterprise Florida and Citizens Property Insurance.
Senate Bill 928 develops an Information Technology governance strategy for the state through the creation of an Agency for State Technology, headed by a Chief Information Officer and charged with producing better Information Technology management, security, cost efficiency and customer service.
Senate Bill 1648 substantially strengthens Florida’s existing public records and open government laws by clarifying how the public may access records and how government should respond. The legislation brings additional transparency to organizations that accept membership fees from the government and to businesses with government contracts.
SB 732, Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program, aims to provide the Florida Prepaid College Board better predictability of future tuition and fee payments to universities, thus reducing the cost of prepaid contracts. The maximum assessment and payment for state university registration fees, tuition differential fees, local fees, and dormitory fees is capped at no more than the actual cost charged by the state universities for such fees.
All five bills will now head to the Senate floor.