TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — College students could be getting a break on the cost of their textbooks under a new proposal announced on Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott, during a visit to the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, said he wants to exempt all textbooks used by students from state and local sales taxes. The state’s sales tax is 6 cents on the dollar.
“We must continue to make the dream of earning a college education attainable for every student,” Scott said in a statement. “Eliminating the sales tax on college textbooks will directly help every Florida student with the cost of college.”
The Scott administration estimates the tax break could save a full-time student as much as $60 a year, which assumes they are spending up to $1,000 on textbooks.
The tax break is expected to cost more than $41 million if the Florida Legislature goes along with the idea.
Scott said last year on the campaign trail that he wanted to help bring down the cost of textbooks. Scott has pushed to keep down the cost of college and last year he convinced legislators to limit tuition hikes at the state’s public universities.
The Republican governor has pledged to cut taxes by $1 billion over the next two years. Earlier this week he released a nearly $500 million proposal to slice the taxes that Floridians pay on various communications services including cable television, cellphones and traditional phone lines.
Right now the state has a projected budget windfall of roughly $1 billion for the coming year.
Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, and the Senate budget chairman, said that he generally supports the tax-cutting proposals being suggested by the governor. But Lee also said he was unsure if lawmakers will have enough money to cover the full cost of Scott’s proposals while also boosting spending on schools and the environment.
Scott on Thursday also said that he wants legislators to set $23.5 million to expand Florida’s popular Bright Futures college scholarship program so it will cover summer classes. The program, which is paid from the sales of lottery tickets, provides scholarships to Florida students who graduate high school with good grades.