Florida Chamber Hits The Road for Business Rent Tax
By: Tracey Lowe
Earlier this month, I hit the road with the Business Rent Tax Coalition on a mission to spread the word about eliminating a Florida-only tax on business rent and to hear from local business owners about what more money in their pockets could do for their business and their local community.
The business rent tax is a 6 percent tax on rent that occurs only in the state of Florida. This tax makes Florida less competitive. To attract businesses to Florida, Governor Scott’s tax cut plan includes a one percent reduction in the business rent tax. This would save Florida business owners approximately $300 million per year. On our trip, I heard from business owners in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Tampa about what they could do with the money saved from a reduction in their taxes.
We met with Dale Stoudt, owner of Super Food and Brew in Jacksonville, who shared that Florida’s business rent tax cost him about an additional $3,000 a year. If he had an extra $3,000 to spend, he would increase wages and get an LED sign outside to pull in even more business. In Daytona Beach, our press conference featured many influential speakers including GG Galloway of Coldwell Banker Commercial Benchmark Realty and Larry McDermott of Intracoastal Bank. They discussed how a gradual reduction in the business rent tax will bring money back to the state if the businesses can reinvest the savings. Greg Blose, Director of Outreach for the Business Rent Tax Coalition, pointed out that the tax costs small businesses $1.7 billion dollars a year, which is why the Florida Chamber, Florida Realtors and members of the Business Rent Tax Coalition have joined together to lessen this burden on Florida business owners.
Our final stop was at the beautiful Hyde Park in Tampa, Florida. Salt Pines hosted our press conference and we then had a chance to talk to more store owners about what a tax reduction could do for their business. Andrew Smith, owner of Salt Pines, wants to save enough money to own a pop-up shop. This innovative business idea would not only let more people find out about his store and increase his web traffic, but allow him to sell from virtually anywhere. Danielle Marie Evans would love to do some advertising for her store, Don Me Now. She says that advertising in Tampa is expensive and she has to put advertising far back on the list of priorities when it comes to her bills. If she was able to purchase more advertisements, she would be able to bring more business to her store. Expanding and promoting their business, while improving pay and benefits to employees is vital to small business owners.
Thanks to the Building Owners and Managers Association’s (BOMA), the Business Rent Tax Coalition has created the Business Tax Rent Relief Relief Fund. This effort will pay a business owner’s entire business rent tax for a month. To learn more about the relief fund, sign our petition at CutMyBizRent.Tax. We will continue to share the latest announcements and information via email.