New Video Highlights Importance of Cutting Florida’s Burdensome and Costly Business Rent Tax
By: Edie Ousley
Small Businesses, Job Creators and Business Groups Call for a One Percent Tax Cut
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (December 17, 2015) – A new video highlighting Florida’s burdensome and costly business rent tax was released today as part of a statewide campaign to encourage lawmakers to eliminate– over six years –this Florida-only tax starting with one percent during the 2016 Legislative Session.
Coalescing around a common goal of making Florida’s business climate more competitive, small businesses, job creators and business groups, known as the Business Rent Tax Coalition, are collectively advocating for a one percent business rent tax cut.
“For Florida to be more competitive and inviting to business, we must cut the business rent tax,” said Carrie O’Rourke, Florida Realtors® vice president of public policy. “Adding sales tax to rent can mean the difference in whether a small business is able to grow and expand – or even if they can stay in business at times. We urge lawmakers to take action this year to cut the business rent tax by one percent, which will provide broad-based tax relief for businesses across Florida, increase job opportunities and encourage economic growth.”
Florida is currently the only state in the nation that charges a business rent tax. That means in Florida, businesses pay a six percent tax on the space they lease, including added costs to that lease, such as property taxes, maintenance and the cost of insurance.
Florida’s business rent tax costs Florida businesses $1.7 billion every single year. A one percent reduction this year, as advocated by the Business Rent Tax Coalition, would keep $287 million in the hands of Florida’s job creators, allowing employers to hire additional employees, increase employee benefits and reinvest back into their businesses.
The Business Rent Tax Coalition currently includes 31 statewide, regional, and local organizations, including:
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida
- Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Florida
- Florida Chamber of Commerce
- Florida Ports Council
- Florida Realtors
- Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
- International Council of Shopping Centers
- Manufacturers Association of Florida
- NAIOP of Florida
- Bay County Chamber of Commerce
- Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce
- Citrus County Chamber of Commerce
- Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Destin Area Chamber of Commerce
- Flagler County Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
- JAX Chamber
- Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce
- Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce
- Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Manatee Chamber of Commerce
- North Port Area Chamber of Commerce
- Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce
- Ocala-Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership
- Orlando, Inc.
- Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce
- Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce
- Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce
- West Orange Chamber of Commerce
Each member of the Business Rent Tax Coalition is actively engaging their grassroots member network and pooling resources to create awareness of this costly tax and engaging lawmaker support to cut – and eventually phase out – the Business Rent Tax.
What Others Are Saying
Florida Chamber of Commerce
“With two out of three jobs being created by small businesses, reducing the business rent tax will help small businesses grow, benefit Florida’s families and make Florida more competitive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber.
Florida Ports Council
“Florida is working to be more competitive at all levels, including reducing the cost of doing business for our companies,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “We appreciate the efforts of Governor Scott and the Florida Chamber to eliminate the burdensome business rent tax and increase our ability to attract businesses to Florida.”
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
“Burdening our businesses with an unnecessary rent tax cuts directly into state revenues generated by the tourism industry, which represents the state’s number one job creator,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “By cutting the business rent tax, lawmakers will help ensure restaurants, hotels and attractions can continue to offer employment opportunities for Florida families and the dollars saved by our businesses can be put back in the pockets of taxpayers.”
Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida
“Reducing the sales tax on commercial leases will make business more competitive,” said Gary Stout, Chairman of the Board of Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida.
BOMA of Florida
“A vibrant commercial real estate industry housing expanding small businesses is a key contributor to economic and employment opportunities for individuals, and their families. The Business Rent Tax cut will play a prominent role in the economic well-being of our industry and therefore our communities, positively impacting the quality of life that has become synonymous with the State of Florida,” said Lacey Willard, President of BOMA Florida, and Director with CBRE, Inc.
International Council of Shopping Centers
“The business rent tax in our state unfairly disadvantages our business owners, whether they are small retail shops or new businesses requiring office space. There is no other state in the country that imposes this tax and if there is a choice for where to locate based on cost, Florida is immediately at a disadvantage. This tax inhibits businesses from expanding given the added costs and directly impacts employment and our ability to grow jobs in our state,” said Ivy Greaner, Florida Government Relations Chair, ICSC and Executive Vice President, Lennar Commercial.
Manufacturers Association of Florida
“Manufacturers in Florida are growing. When they grow they need more space. Competing with others for land space to build and along with facing months and years of planning and permits forces them to turn to leasing and renting existing space for their expanding operations. When they realize Florida is the only state that charges sales tax on commercial rents and leases, they think twice about expanding here. Reducing the tax will keep more of them in Florida and attract others that provide those well-paying jobs for Florida’s families,” said Nancy Stephens Executive Director, Manufacturers Association of Florida.
NAIOP of Florida, Commercial Real Estate Development Association
“Elimination of just one percent of the business rent tax can put $287 million of revenue back into Florida’s economy for job creation and expansion or to help with the ever rising cost of such things as healthcare for employees.” Nelson Bradshaw, President 2016 NAIOP of Florida, Commercial Real Estate Development Association.
“Businesses throughout Central Florida are increasingly concerned about the business rent tax, which is why Orlando, Inc. is urging the Florida Legislature to take action to reduce this tax.” Jose Fajardo, Executive Vice President, Orlando, Inc.
Learn more about the Business Rent Tax Coalition by visiting cutmybizrent.tax.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.