Read through for a short analysis of the Governor's conforming bills that affect counties.

College Textbook Exemption

This bill proposes to exempt College textbooks from sales tax. To be eligible for the exemption, the student must show his or her student identification and applicable course syllabus. The impact to local government is expected to be $7.5 million.

Machinery and Equipment Permanent Tax Exemption

This bill proposes to make the tax exemption on machinery and equipment permanent. The impact to local government is expected to be $25.7 million

Communication Services Tax

This bill proposes to reduce the state tax on communication services from 6.65 percent to 3.05 percent and direct-to-home satellite from 10.8 percent to 7.2 percent. The bill keeps local government harmless by adjusting revenue sharing percentages.

Sales Tax Holiday

This bill proposes a Back to School sales tax holiday from July 31, 2015 to August 2, 2015 on the following items:

a)      Clothing, wallets,  or bags, including handbags, backpacks but excluding briefcases, suitcases, having a sales price of $100 or less per item

b)      School supplies having a sales price of $15 or less per item

c)       Personal computers and related accessories having a sales price of $750 or less. The term “personal computer” includes any electronic book reader, laptop, desktop, handheld, tablet, or tower computer

The impact to local government is expected to be$7.4 million.

FRS

County Employer Contribution Rates change as follows:

  • Employer normal contribution rates for each membership class of FRS (Defined Benefit and Defined Investment) are amended as follows:

Class

FY 2014-15 Normal Rate

FY 2015-16 Normal Rate

Regular

3.53%

2.91%

Special Risk

11.01%

11.35%

Special Risk Administrative Support

4.18%

3.71%

Elected Officers (legislators)

6.30%

6.48%

Elected Officers (judges)

10.10%

11.39%

Elected Officers (county officers)

8.36%

8.48%

Senior Management

4.80%

4.32%

DROP

4.30

4.10

  • To address unfunded actuarial liabilities (UAL) of the system, the bill amends the current 2014 employer contribution rates for each membership class of FRS as follows:

 

Class

FY 2014-15  UAL Rate

FY 2015-2016 UAL Rate

Regular

2.54%

2.54%

Special Risk

7.51%

8.99%

Special Risk Administrative Support

36.59%

27.54%

Elected Officers (legislators)

38.66%

37.62%

Elected Officers (judges)

21.77%

22.62%

Elected Officers (county officers)

33.58%

32.09%

Senior Management

15.04%

15.41%

DROP

6.72%

7.12%

 

Amendment 1 Implementation Water and Land Conservation

This bill implements the Amendment 1 language that was approved by voters in the last election. In addition, the Governor proposes to give the greater of 25.7% or $150 million to the Everglades, the greater of 8.6% or $50 million to Springs Restoration and $150 million for Land Acquisition Management.

 

Medicaid Conforming Bill

The Governor’s proposed Medicaid conforming bill repeals sec. 409.97(4), F.S., which establishes the tiered hospital rate distribution that is set to take effect in July.  Current law allows for local governments to contribute intergovernmental transfers (IGTs) in order to increase the state’s federal Medicaid match dollars, largely for the benefit of providers in those localities.  The tiered hospital rate distribution system would pool together IGTs and the resulting federal match dollars, and distribute them to hospitals throughout the state based on assigned “tiers.”  In effect, this would significantly reduce the dollars being returned to donor counties to the benefit of non-contributing entities, largely removing the incentive for local governments to contribute IGTs altogether.   FAC supports the repeal of this section of law.