STATE CAPITAL BRIEFS (EVENING EDITION)

newservicefloridaTHE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
CRIST COMMITTEE SENDS $2.5M TO DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Continuing moves to stockpile cash in the state parties, a committee backing gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist sent $2.5 million to the Florida Democratic Party last week, a new campaign-finance report shows. The committee, known as “Charlie Crist for Florida,” reported collecting $861,470 in contributions from Sept. 6 to Sept. 12, bringing its overall total to $18.57 million. It also reported spending $2.85 million during the week-long period, with $2.5 million of that amount going to the state party. In all, it had spent about $13.1 million. Committees supporting Crist and Republican Gov. Rick Scott have repeatedly moved chunks of money into the parties, which can use the funds for such purposes as get-out-the-vote efforts. The “Let’s Get to Work” political committee, a key part of Scott’s re-election bid, sent $5.8 million to the Republican Party of Florida last week, according to a campaign-finance report filed Thursday.

PUTNAM: FUTURE ENERGY TAX HOLIDAY MAY BE LONGER
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam walked out of a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Tallahassee on Friday after paying $1.50 in sales tax on a $109.95 tab. Putnam’s purchase of a new shower head and four packs of light bulbs was to highlight the start of a three-day tax discount period on energy-saving and water-conserving appliances and products. Putnam, who pitched the energy-savings tax discount nearly a year ago as part of his 2014 legislative agenda, said he may request a longer discount period in future years, depending on this weekend’s sales. “I hope that we will be able to learn an awful lot about participation rates and the popularity of this and apply those lessons next year,” Putnam said. “We may need to adjust when we do it and we may need to adjust the length of it, but this is our first foray into this, and we’ll apply the lessons learned.” State economists, sitting as the Revenue Estimating Conference, have projected that the overall savings for shoppers this weekend could dent the revenue of state and local governments by $890,000 to $2.67 million. Through Sunday, sales taxes won’t be collected on the first $1,500 of the purchase price of certain Environmental Protection Agency-designated Energy Star and WaterSense products, including new refrigerators, dishwashers and ceiling fans.

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