The seven-day holiday, which was part of a wide-ranging tax bill passed this year, will allow shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes on numerous home-repair and construction items from Saturday through Sept. 9.
"I think it's just to give a boost to our skilled workers," Florida Retail Federation President Scott Shalley said. "The Legislature and the governor had a lot of insight to say, ‘Let’s give them a break around Labor Day here.’ I think it’s a great time, particularly with the inflationary pressures we are seeing right now."
The name of the holiday loosely comes from a home-improvement show within the 1990s sitcom "Home Improvement." The idea of the discounts is to recognize the efforts of workers, lawmakers said.
"If you think about a year-and-a-half or two years ago, the first time we started hearing the word COVID, one of the things you started hearing after that is who's essential and essential workers," Rep. Joe Harding, R-Williston, said as he argued for the tax holiday March 2 on the House floor. "We heard a lot about our first responders and our health-care workers. But we also learned really quickly how essential the people that pick up a tool bag and drive a work truck every day are."
The tax package (HB 7071), which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May, also included tax holidays for purchasing disaster-preparation items before hurricane season, back-to-school items before children went back to classes and entertainment and recreation items around Independence Day.
Flush with cash, lawmakers and DeSantis also approved a period when people could buy children’s books without paying sales taxes and gave year-long tax exemptions on items such as baby diapers and Energy Star appliances. Also, the state gasoline tax will be suspended for a month in October.
State economists have projected the tool-time holiday will reduce state revenue by $9.6 million and local revenue by $2.8 million.
Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of the non-profit Florida TaxWatch, said the holiday also will help "everyday homeowners."
Here are some of the purchases exempt from sales taxes during the tool-time holiday:
- Work gloves that cost $25 or less.
- Hand tools, LED flashlights, safety glasses, protective coveralls and duffle bags that cost $50 or less.
- Tool boxes that cost $75 or less.
- Shop lights, tool belts and electrical-voltage and related testing equipment that cost $100 or less.
- Handheld pipe cutters, drain opening tools and plumbing-inspection equipment that cost $150 or less.
- Work boots that cost $175 or less.
- Power tools and tool boxes for vehicles that cost $300 or less.