Furthering Smarter and Competitive Tax Policies
By: Mark Wilson
One key to creating jobs for Florida’s growing population is a competitive and equitable tax system.
Certainly, as the Wall Street Journal wrote recently, “Florida has benefited from its low-tax regime…” In Florida, we’ve seen more than $7 billion in reduced state taxes, and at the federal level, the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has encouraged businesses to invest more in their company and employees.
With 5.4 million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, Florida will need to create two million jobs to maintain a five percent unemployment rate. That’s why the Florida Chamber continues to fight for a Florida that can remain a leader in U.S. job creation.
“Florida is a great place to do business and it seems like it is getting better and better with some of our new tax policies that are working through the system now. We have to keep working on our tax structure and our business climate structure because everybody else is getting better as well,” Harry Sideris, President of Duke Energy Florida and Florida Chamber Regional Board Chair said recently on our latest Series on Free Enterprise.
By continuing to build an environment that invites businesses and investments worldwide, as well as retaining Florida’s already growing businesses, Florida can create a strong and successful business climate. Chief among these efforts is furthering smarter and competitive tax policies.
But right now, Florida is the only state in the nation that taxes businesses on rent – setting up discouraging and discriminatory tax policies.
“This arcane tax costs Florida businesses $1.7 billion every single year and plays a significant role in decision making when businesses look to relocate or expand to our state,” said Mark Trowbridge, President and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.
For Carrie O’Rourke, Vice President of Public Policy for the Florida Realtors®, the negative impact of the Florida-only business rent tax could outweigh the benefits the federal tax cut package brings to Florida.
“Not only is it an issue that prevents our businesses from expanding and growing, but it also is a detriment for those companies that are looking to relocate to Florida,” O’Rourke recently shared with the Florida Chamber.
Senator Kathleen Passidomo recently discussed the importance of targeted tax reform on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.
“Most everyone in the legislature realizes that in order to create a vibrant business climate we need to do a number of things which would include reducing taxes on our businesses, reducing regulations and also helping our residents,” Senator Passidomo said. “The one thing I am a little disappointed in is that we aren’t going to tackle the business rent tax again this year. But, that is a big dollar number and I think everyone realizes that’s going to be a process and we will do that over time.”
Reducing the cost of doing business in Florida is a cornerstone of the Florida Chamber’s 2018 Jobs Agenda. In addition to eliminating Florida’s business rent tax, we continue advocating for increasing the Research & Development Tax Credit, and reducing the corporate income tax.
While Smarter Tax Policies are Essential to a More Competitive Florida, We Can’t Stop There.
Florida’s business community is facing a $1.5 billion impact from workers’ comp rates that remain 14.5 percent higher than they should be. Right now, the Florida Legislature has an opportunity to address the true cost drivers of the system, including attorney fees. The Florida House of Representatives has already taken action. It’s now time for the Florida Senate to take action.
And Florida’s bottom five legal environment is an open invitation for “gotcha” lawsuits that cost Florida families an average of $3,400 each year in lawsuit abuse costs. In fact, I encourage you to see how this ‘tax’ impacts families by watching this short employer-to-employee video called “Meet Mary“.
Florida’s broken lawsuit climate captured the attention of the Wall Street Journal – for the seventh time in a year – which highlighted the lengths to which some in the Senate are Protecting Legal Fraud in Florida. All eyes continue to be on the Senate in our efforts to lower the cost of living for Floridians and protect consumers from an abusive Assignment of Benefits insurance scam that’s created a niche industry from some trial lawyers. Click here to see highlights from our recent advocacy efforts at the Florida Capitol.
Very Special Thank You to Speaker Richard Corcoran and Representative Jay Trumbull for Their Efforts to Reform AOB Abuse in the Florida House.
“I’m really proud of the Florida House to be able to pass a bill in the first week of session. It really puts the onus on the Senate to make sure that they come to the table and we see real reform for all Floridians,” Representative Trumbull said on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.
Year after year, the Florida Chamber is at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs.
Showcasing Impact of Federal Tax Reform
We’ve heard from some Florida Chamber members that they have announced pay raises, bonuses, lower prices, corporate investments and more as a result of the federal tax reform. Help us tell the Florida story by sharing yours. Take our survey today. If your company sent a press release sharing what you did with the tax reform savings, please send a copy to Greg Blose at email@example.com.