Governor Rick Scott signed 74 bills into law last Friday including the tax-cut package, HB 7087, which totals about $171 million in tax and fee cuts. The package authorizes many things, including tax breaks for farmers and ranchers who suffered damage in Hurricane Irma. It offers tax breaks on agricultural fencing materials purchased for repairs after the hurricane and includes tax breaks for citrus packing houses that had their businesses interrupted by Hurricane Irma or by the deadly disease citrus greening and for fuel used to transport agricultural products after the storm.
According to the News Service of Florida, the Legislature passed 195 bills during this year’s session, and so far Scott has signed 154 into law.
But, Scott did issue a signing letter Friday with a bill (HB 7043) that would allow the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to assume administration of a federal wetland-permitting program. Scott’s letter said the bill gives the department authority to “undertake rulemaking to explore whether the state should issue” permits now administered by the federal government.
Scott wrote “The Department of Environmental Protection’s rulemaking process is done with public input and scrutiny.” “Also, the Department of Environmental Protection must demonstrate that their permitting program’s standards are just as stringent, if not more stringent, than what is in place currently with the federal government.”