Gruters Carries Bills on Taxes, Incentives, Tech

Todays News

State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, may not be sponsoring a bill as controversial as his past sanctuary cities ban this year, but the lawmaker has plenty of policy priorities in the just started legislative session. Whether it’s launching a pilot program for digital license plates, assessing an online sales tax at point of sale or reestablishing a film incentives program, he’s championing a number of bills that could directly impact constituents.

His push for e-fairness legislation may be the most controversial. For years, Gruters has argued Florida missed out on revenue for failing to do what 43 other states do and require out-of-state online retailers to charges sales tax on goods when they are sold. That’s to the detriment of mom-and-pop shops and brick-and-mortar retailers on the ground in Senate District 23, and to the benefit of those taking money out of the nation and even overseas.

“To me looking at it from the idea of an America First policy, we to give a competitive advantage to foreign competitors is insane,” he said.

He’s also working on a bill to set up a rebate program for film productions that come to town. The last time any incentives to filmmakers were funded by the state was in 2014, and Gruters said Florida has suffered for it, losing out on productions shot in Georgia, Louisiana or North Carolina. Florida stands out as the only Southern State not offering some financial lure to filmmakers. Different than past programs, legislation he filed this year would only offer rebates for money after its spent by filmmakers, and only on projects that contribute to the Florida economy.

“The value of the film lasts long after the monetary value goes away,” he said. The destination tourism as a result of shows across the country is a major deal.”

Both those bills could benefit this year from post-pandemic reevaluations. Florida’s reopening policies make it one of few major states where productions can shoot without restriction. And a rush by consumers to online shopping in the last year shows the need to collect tax on those sales.

He’s carrying other bills, including a digital license plate bill that cleared the Senate Transportation Committee just Wednesday. The bill would allow digital screens installed instead of metal plates, and those plates could have mobile communication technology to allow for everything from toll-by-plate to notifying police a vehicle has been stolen.

“We live in a world where technology is advancing rapidly,” he said.

« View The Thursday Mar 4, 2021 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Sarasota, Manatee Look Toward Hurricane Ian Recovery

Sarasota, Manatee Look Toward Hurricane Ian Recovery

Jacob Ogles | Sep 29, 2022

Emergency Officials Closely Monitor Ian

Emergency Officials Closely Monitor Ian

Sep 26, 2022

Sarasota County Hires New Fire Chief

Sarasota County Hires New Fire Chief

Sep 26, 2022

Sarasota County Names New Director of Communications

Sarasota County Names New Director of Communications

Sep 5, 2022