Union members protest Rep. Clemons changes to House Bill 15

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 12:11 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 12:29 AM EDT
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NEWBERRY, Fla. (WCJB) -Two union members met outside of Rep. Chuck Clemons’ office to express their concerns with a proposal to change unemployment insurance premiums for large companies. House Bill 15 would require sales tax to be collected on out-of-state internet sales.

Union leaders explain an amendment would use this money to prevent unemployment insurance premium increases for employers and can’t be used to improve Florida’s unemployment insurance system, which has been widely criticized since the pandemic started.

RELATED STORY: Florida’s flawed unemployment system still frustrates those in need

“This seems like it is a good deal. It was a good deal. Our brick-and-mortar stores are competing against online businesses that aren’t paying sales taxes. We should level the playing field. We should raise some income, and it should go into the state coffers,” explained Jeremiah Tattersall, field staff for North Central Florida Central Labor Council. “If it is going to be used, it needs to be used in a way that benefits working people, not just for a tax cut for big businesses.”

We reached out to Clemons for comment. He sent a statement that said, “Using these monies to guarantee the solvency of Florida’s unemployment trust fund benefits workers first. Most everyone would agree that a 700 percent tax hike in one year is untenable. The temporary use of these tax monies will guarantee worker benefits in the future when needed.”

A companion bill will be debated on the Senate floor on Thursday.

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