Important headlines for June 22nd – What the online sales tax ruling means

posted by Brian Mudd - 

Important headlines for June 22nd  What the online sales tax ruling means in Florida 

Bottom Line: These are stories you shouldn't miss and my takes on them... 

Hot Take: From the day that Amazon first setup a physical presence in Florida and began charging sales tax to Floridians, most of what we buy online in our state has been taxed. I searched for updated information on what percentage of online purchases in Florida still aren't taxed and will be impacted by this ruling. There wasn't anything reliable available and part of it is due to the complication of what's impacted. Purchases made on eBay, for example, often are left out of the numbers available. Based on what you look at it appears that 89% to 97% of all online purchases made currently charge Florida's 6% sales tax. That number will likely be moving to 100% soon.  

Florida's estimates are that around $750 million in additional revenue could be captured an unusually with all online purchases being taxed. You can imagine they'll seek to obtain it. While no one likes to pay sales tax, it is a small win for small businesses in our state that already fight massive uphill battles when attempting to compete with online giants. At least everyone will be taxed equitably.  

Hot Take: There's been a lot of confusion about what goes on here. Two separate but related events occurred. Govenor Rick Scott ordered the redirection of discharges south (through the Everglades) rather than east and west through our canals and into our waterways. Just after that announcement the Army Corps of Engineers announced they'd begin reducing the discharges today.  

Where it's confusing for many is what the state can do and what the Army Corps can do. The Govenor can order where these discharges go but lacks any control over the discharges. The Army Corps of Engineers determines, at their sole discretion, when they happen and how extensive they are – which is our constant frustration at the state level because of course they don't answer to or have to consult with anyone at the state level. As for the direction – it's a "choose your poison" decision. I'm as outraged as anyone about what they do to our waterways, but I think we'd all agree that we don't want to destroy the Everglades in the process. This is the tangled web that's woven through man-made manipulation of nature over 90+ years. 

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