The Florida Legislature has passed a bill that would give
manufactures a sales-tax break and would create a quasi-public board to manage
funds received through BP oil spill litigation.
The tax break was a top priority of Gov. Rick Scott and is almost certain to be signed into law.
The Senate added the tax break to the bill (HB 7007) Wednesday.
The legislation previously drew concerns from Bay County officials about how it treated RESTORE Act funds. The bill appeared to make a grab at Panhandle counties' RESTORE money, but was later amended, thereby removing all claims, and any ambiguity, that that was the case.
The bill would still create Triumph Gulf Coast Inc., a corporation that would receive75 percent of the funds Florida secures through its lawsuit against BP and Halliburton for "economic loss" caused by the spill. The corporation would have a five-member board that would manage the money and decide how it's spent.
The bill also would require additional oversight on the RESTORE Act dollars local governments receive and spend.
The bill passed 37-3 in the Senate and then headed to the House where it passed 68-48 after being amended to add the manufacturer's tax break. Now it goes to the governor for approval.
(c)2013 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)
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