Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday that requires online retailers and other out-of-state merchants to collect sales tax, a move that could add about $1 billion annually to state revenues.
The law requires out-of-state retailers to collect taxes on purchases bound for a Florida address.
Florida had required sales taxes to be paid to the state by the purchaser. The new bill shifts that burden to out-of-state retailers or online marketplaces, which will have to collect state and local sales taxes much like brick-and-mortar stores do.
The sales tax collections will first go towards the state's unemployment trust fund, which has seen a steep drop amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Once the unemployment fund is shored up, revenues generated by the measure would go to the state's General Fund.
“It helps us replenish the unemployment fund that was devastated because of a pandemic that wasn’t created by any of the job creators here,” said Rep. Bob Rommel, a Republican and supporter of the measure. “We’re going to refill it by not taxing them.”
Some Democrats opposed the bill, calling it a regressive tax on working people. They also objected to having the proceeds disproportionately benefit business owners.
“Governor just signed a bill into law to increase your taxes and give the new revenue of $1 billion to businesses,” Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani tweeted after it was signed.