Senate Tax Package Benefits Families and Job Creators

Senate Tax Package Unveiled in Final Days of Session

On March 11, 2020, the Senate released its initial version of the 2020 tax package in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The proposed Senate tax package mirrors many provisions of the House tax package and is set to be heard on the Senate floor tomorrow, March 12.

The Senate tax package contains the following Florida Chamber-backed provisions:

• A reduction in the Florida-only business rent tax from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent;
• A reduction in the state communication services tax by 0.5 percent;
• Reauthorization of the Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund program which was set to expire on June 30th without legislative action; and
• Back-to-school and disaster preparedness sales tax holidays.

Additionally, the original Senate proposal included a simplified version of the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) compared to the House tax package, and would have allowed only certain qualified counties to use TDT revenue for water quality improvement projects. An amendment in committee completely removed the language, ensuring TDT funds are only available for what’s currently allowable under state law, such as tourism marketing.

Finally, the Senate tax package contained a rewrite of the House’s proposal to recalculate the property-tax exemption for non-profit hospitals. The Florida Chamber and its members are still reviewing this language to ensure that hospitals are not needlessly targeted.

Initial negotiations with the House shaped today’s tax package, but several unplanned amendments means more work remains between the two chambers to agree on a final product.

Additionally, Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Rob Bradley warned that the final allocation of money for the tax package may be reduced as budget negotiations continue in the final days of session.

Help Us Make A Difference

How does the Senate tax proposal impact you? Contact Carolyn Johnson and share your thoughts at cjohnson@flchamber.com.

$150 Million in Possible Tax Savings

Initial Florida House Tax Package Offers $150 Million in Savings

Florida families and job creators could see savings on cell phones, the business rent tax, back-to-school shopping and more under the initial tax package the Florida House proposed. In total, the House’s tax package calls for $150 million in savings, and is a starting point as the House and Senate prepare to negotiate the state’s budget in the remaining weeks of the 2020 Legislative Session.

The House’s tax savings package includes Florida Chamber-backed targeted tax savings, including:

• A reduction of the Communications Services Tax by 0.5 percent,
• A reduction of the Business Rent Tax from 5.5 to 5.4 percent, or $30 million,
• A three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday on clothing less than $60, and on the first $1,000 on computers, and
• A seven-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday.

The initial House tax package also included other tax policy changes, some that would impact industries differently. These changes include:

• Allowing the use of Tourism Development Tax dollars for water quality improvement projects,
• Changing how the property tax exemption is calculated for non-profit hospitals,
• Increasing the aviation fuel tax refund for certain carriers from 1.41 cents per gallon to 2.38 cents per gallon,
• Allowing the use of the local option food and beverage tax to be used for water quality improvement projects, and
• An increase in the brownfields tax credit.
The Senate will release its tax proposals in the coming weeks. The Florida Chamber will continue to monitor in an effort to advocate for smarter and competitive tax policies. Join us in this effort by signing this petition.

Share the Impact to Your Business

Contact Carolyn Johnson at 850-521-1235 or cjohnson@flchamber.com to share how some of these proposals will impact your business.

Furthering Smarter and More Competitive Tax Policies

 

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Why It Matters to Florida

A competitive and equitable tax system creates jobs and strengthens the economy. With 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, Florida will need to create 1.7 million jobs. One key to creating jobs for this growing population will be a competitive and equitable tax system. Yet, Florida is the only state in the nation that taxes businesses on rent – setting up discouraging and discriminatory tax policies.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

In order for Florida’s businesses to grow and remain competitive the Florida Chamber will continue to support:

  • Eliminating Florida’s Business Rent Tax
    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 — meaning some businesses are subject to double taxation. This tax costs Florida businesses $1.7 billion every single year.
  • Reducing Corporate Income Tax
    The Florida Chamber will continue to support reducing Florida’s corporate income tax. The Florida Chamber has long championed the increase of the corporate income tax exemption. In 2011, 79 percent of qualifying Florida businesses were fully exempt from paying corporate income tax under the current $50,000 exemption. This helps businesses focus on creating jobs and hiring Floridians.
  • Fixing the Internet Sales Tax
    The Florida Chamber will continue working with the Florida Legislature on the Internet sales tax, to ensure businesses can continue to expand and remain competitive.
  • Research & Development Tax Credit
    The Florida Legislature has increased the Research & Development Tax Credit cap twice in the last four years, recognizing that this program has been historically oversubscribed. In 2018, the cap was $16.5 million and $68 million in credits were requested, with over $200 billion in reported research and development expenditures. Each applicant only received approximately 25 percent of the amount of credit determined in their application for the work performed. We look forward to working with the Legislature to increase the cap to $35 million to allow companies to receive a greater percentage of the Research and Development credits allowable under law.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

The time for targeted tax reform is now. Meaningful and pro-growth tax reform will position Florida for stronger economic growth. Lowering taxes, simplifying America’s tax code and cutting the Florida-only business rent tax will help relieve burdens on Florida’s business, job creators, and families. Instead of short-term solutions, the Florida Chamber believes in creating long-term sustainable outcomes so Florida can continue to attract and grow the top businesses in the nation.

Keeping Florida’s Business Climate Competitive

 

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Why It Matters to Florida

Florida is the only state in the country that charges a nearly six percent sales tax on business rent, a cost impacting any business that leases space- from mom and pop stores to multi-national operations. When Florida is seen as the only state that hinders business growth in this way, word gets around to CEOs. Furthermore, the Florida Chamber has found that in some instances, businesses are subject to “double” taxation through the tax imposed on business rents. Business may find themselves paying property taxes as a portion of their rent, with sales tax being levied on the entire rent.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

While Florida already has one of the best tax climates in the nation for residents, enacting smart and targeted tax reforms for job creators will produce greater economic growth. Creating a fair tax system means putting small business capital to work and eliminating uncompetitive tax policies like the Business Rent Tax.

The Fight for Free Enterprise

The Florida Chamber will remain diligent in fighting for this proposal. We will continue to create a state that attracts and retains businesses of all sizes. Reducing this tax keeps money directly in the pockets of job creators, allowing them to expand, grow and become more productive.

Act Now

Florida wins when we create a business climate that attracts our nation’s top job creators. Help us eliminate unnecessary taxes and create a more competitive Florida by contacting Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com.

House Ways and Means Committee Passes Tax Package Lowering Florida-Only Business Rent Tax

On February 14, the House Ways and Means Committee passed the House tax package, which includes a reduction in the Florida-only Business Rent Tax. This targeted tax reform will provide a more equitable and competitive tax system for Florida.

WMC 18-03, better known as the Florida House tax package, would reduce the Florida-only business rent tax from 5.8 percent to 5.5 percent and create sales tax holidays for hurricane preparedness and back-to-school. Reducing the business rent tax will allow businesses, particularly small businesses, to hire more employees, raise wages and invest back into their businesses.

Two Ways to Get Involved

    1. Sign the Petition – The Florida-only business rent tax disproportionately harms small business and makes Florida less competitive. Sign the petition to call on Florida lawmakers to cut the business rent tax.
    2. Watch Video – Citrus County business leaders spoke with the Business Rent Tax Coalition on why it is important to cut the Florida-only business rent tax. Watch the full video below.

Florida House to Debate Lowering Florida-Only Business Rent Tax

 

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The House Ways and Means Committee early on Wednesday morning will debate lowering the Florida-only Business Rent Tax. This targeted tax reform will provide a more equitable and competitive tax system for Florida.

WMC 18-03, better known as the Florida House Tax Package, would reduce the Florida-only business rent tax from 5.8 percent to 5.5 percent and create sales tax holidays for hurricane preparedness and back-to-school.

Take Action Now

Call members of the House Ways and Means Committee and urge them to support WMC18-03.

Targeted Tax Reform Will Make Florida More Competitive

A competitive and equitable tax system creates jobs and strengthens the economy. The Florida Realtors® say that while getting there will be a challenge, a business-friendly tax climate can be achieved.

Carrie O’Rourke, Vice President of Public Policy for Florida Realtors®, said the Florida-only business rent tax should be the first piece of legislation to be eliminated before Florida can move forward. With the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, companies are able to invest more in their companies and employees. O’Rourke said the benefits of the tax cuts could bring business to Florida, but the business rent tax could negatively impact those decisions.

“First, let’s get rid of the business rent tax. Not only is that 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 said. “Everyone is aware of what is going on with Amazon and everyone wants an Amazon center in Florida, but it is something to consider and it plays against our ability to receive that.”

According to O’Rourke, both the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Florida Realtors® have been addressing the issue for a several years. Combining efforts has helped create even greater awareness of the problem among legislators.

 “I think two years ago we really started to work together with the Florida Chamber in pulling together all of the business associations in Tallahassee to really work together. It was because of this partnership that we were able to get the legislature to understand the importance of this and realize that when you give a dollar back to a business they are not going to spend it, they are going to reinvest it,” O’Rourke said. “Our partnership with the Florida Chamber was absolutely critical. We were able to put some of the right pressure points on to make sure that we at least got the cuts started, which was a .2 percent cut last year and it reflects $60 million statewide.”

The Florida Realtors® used their 2018 Mid-Winter meetings to discuss the business rent tax and other legislative issues that are on the horizon. The three-day event was held in Orlando on Jan. 24-27.

“We were very lucky this year that our mid-winter meetings coincided with session so it was a great time for us to give an update on what our legislative priorities are and where they are in the process,” O’Rouke said. “We were able to focus on what’s happening with the business rent tax, the assignment of benefits bills that are out there, affordable housing and overall protection of private property rights through the vacation rental bill.”

The takeaway, O’Rourke said, was one of optimism. Existing home sales in Florida were up 1.2 percent over 2016 sales levels, and 2017 sales levels of existing condos and townhouses are up about three percent year over year. The statewide median price in both sectors is up about eight percent compared to a year ago.

“Things are looking good for Florida at the moment. I had one member who had a closing every single day from the beginning of the year. Our economy grew in 2017 and that momentum is expected to continue this year,” O’Rourke said. “We’re seeing a slight uptick in prices, but it’s still a competitive market. The only downside we are seeing is inventory, so there are just not enough homes on the market to keep up with the demand.”

O’Rourke said the principles of free enterprise will guide Florida to a more secure and sustainable future.

“A healthy business climate leads to healthy communities and that’s what we are all about,” O’Rourke said. “When businesses are successful, it creates opportunities for employees, their families and so on. Free enterprise is absolutely critical to make sure that all of that is a reality.”

Florida Needs Another Business Rent Tax Reduction

By Mark A. Trowbridge, President & CEO
Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

 

Big things are happening in the great State of Florida!

The state unemployment rate has dropped to 3.6 percent, job growth is higher than the national average and 112.3 million visitors came to The Sunshine State this past year. Most importantly, we are moving our State toward a more competitive and global economy, and businesses are taking notice.

But in order to achieve the goal of becoming the No. 1 destination for business and real estate in the country, the Florida Legislature must continue to support smart policies that create jobs and advance economic opportunity for all Floridians.

Our business climate in Florida must be peerless in terms of regulation and our investment in creating a top-tier workforce requires a relentless pursuit of excellence.

However, there are impediments to us achieving these goals which require significant action, regulatory reform and political will.

Did you know that Florida is the only State in the entire country that forces small businesses to pay an archaic tax on the rent they pay for their storefront?

Known as the business rent tax (BRT), this tax puts all Florida businesses at a competitive disadvantage versus the rest of the country. In fact, all Florida businesses must pay a six percent tax on the space they lease, and that number if often higher depending on the municipality the business is located in, such as where our Chamber is located in Miami-Dade County.

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 in our state. It also heavily impacts smaller businesses that may struggle to grow because of the BRT, forcing them to stop hiring, delay expansion or even close their business for good.

While Florida Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 7109 into law at the conclusion of last session, it included only a modest 0.2 percent BRT reduction.  More must be done this session to make Florida the most competitive state in the global economy, our rightful place as a State of 20 million.

The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Florida Chamber and our realtor association colleagues, believes that a reduction in the business rent tax is good for business and the best course of action during the 2018 Legislative Session.

A full percentage point, or even a smaller, gradual reduction, in the business rent tax would send a clear signal to Florida’s business community – and the rest of our country – that Florida desires to be the top place to grow your business.

Our Chamber’s leadership and membership urge our legislators to support your local business community this session and reduce or eliminate the business rent tax once and for all.

Florida Chamber Announces Senator Kelli Stargel Named a 2017 Distinguished Advocate

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Senator Kelli Stargel is one of the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Distinguished Advocates for her commitment to championing pro-jobs, pro-business legislation.

The Florida Chamber’s Distinguished Advocate award recognizes lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation – no matter how difficult – and furthered the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development.

To view Senator Stargel’s complete grading and district information, click here.

 

“Senator Kelli Stargel showed leadership in advocating for the Florida Chamber’s education and tax priorities, including reducing the Florida-only business rent tax,” said DAVID HART, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

“I am honored for the opportunity to work with the Florida Chamber on behalf of businesses because these efforts help our entire community, from employees to owners to the non-profits they support. A sound economic environment enables families to enjoy the security and quality of life we all desire,” SENATOR STARGEL said.

Rep. Jim Boyd Talks House Tax Package, Workers’ Comp

Florida House Tax Package Focuses on What Works for Families and Businesses

“Our tax package is simply a split between families and individuals and homeowners and businesses. Both are important to Florida. The more we can eliminate burdens on businesses, the more they’ll be able to expand and employ, and the more we can eliminate burdens on families, the more they’ll be able to have money to spend for the things that are important for them. I’m excited about our end product,” – REP. JIM BOYD, FLORIDA HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

 

Watch Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton), the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line explaining some of the advantages of the House’s recently passed tax package. The package contains additional homestead exemptions for homeowners, sales tax holidays for families and veterans, R&D tax rollbacks and reductions to the Florida-only business rent tax.

Boyd, who, along with his colleagues in the House, also passed workers’ compensation reform earlier this week, also urged viewers and Florida Chamber members to contact their Senators in advance of Monday’s upcoming workers’ comp discussion and urge them to adopt legislation closer to the House’s.

Be the First to Know

Be among the first to know what passed, what failed, the details of Florida’s newly passed budget, and if lawmakers worked to make Florida more competitive when the Florida Chamber releases its end of session report on Friday, May 5 – the final day of the 2017 Legislative Session. Don’t miss out on this exclusive member service. Email Christi McCray today at christimccray@flchamber.com.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Applauds Florida House for Passing Targeted Tax Reform Tax Reform Package

Tallahassee, Fla. (April 26, 2017) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today applauds the Florida House of Representatives for taking a major step toward addressing much-needed targeted tax reforms by passing HB 7109, sponsored by the House Ways and Means Committee and Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton).

“The reduction of the Florida-only business rent tax, along with a greater investment on research and development and sales tax holidays will provide meaningful relief to Florida businesses and families,” said CAROLYN JOHNSON, Director of Business, Economic Development and Innovation Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber commends Chairman Boyd and House leadership for their effort and looks forward to continuing the conversation in the Senate.”

 

This Florida Chamber-Backed Bill:

  • Reduces the cost to lease business space, allowing businesses to reinvest money saved in additional employees, employee benefits or in additional capital,
  • Encourages research and development (R&D) in Florida, spurring innovation, growth and high-wage jobs, and
  • Provides tax relief for Florida families and makes Florida more competitive.

The Florida Chamber supports a competitive and equitable tax system. Florida is the only state in the country that charges the business rent tax, putting Florida at a competitive disadvantage to other states, especially neighboring states, when attracting new businesses.  HB 7109 reduces the business rent tax by 1.5 percent for two years, and permanently reduces the tax by 0.5 percent.  Additionally, the bill increases the amount of tax credits available for qualified research and development by $11 million.  This will support increased innovation and high wage jobs in our state.  Finally, the bill provides savings for Florida families by offering sales tax holidays for school supplies and disaster preparedness.

HB 7109 now travels to the Florida Senate for legislative action. The Florida Chamber looks forward to working with the members of the Senate to enact targeted tax reform legislation that supports jobs for Florida’s families and strengthens our state’s economic competitiveness.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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 crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FLChamber.com for more information.

Florida Chamber Applauds Passage of House Tax Package

Tax Reform Package Will Reduce Florida-Only Business Rent Tax

The Florida Chamber of Commerce today applauds the Florida House of Representatives for taking a major step toward addressing much-needed targeted tax reforms by passing HB 7109, sponsored by the House Ways and Means Committee and Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton).

The reduction of the Florida-only business rent tax, along with a greater investment on research and development and sales tax holidays will provide meaningful relief to Florida businesses and families. The Florida Chamber commends Chairman Boyd and House leadership for their effort.

This Florida Chamber-Backed Bill:

  • Reduces the cost to lease business space, allowing businesses to reinvest money saved in additional employees, employee benefits or in additional capital,
  • Encourages research and development (R&D) in Florida, spurring innovation, growth and high-wage jobs, and
  • Provides tax relief for Florida families and makes Florida more competitive.

The Florida Chamber supports a competitive and equitable tax system. Florida is the only state in the country that charges the business rent tax, putting Florida at a competitive disadvantage to other states, especially neighboring states, when attracting new businesses.  HB 7109 reduces the business rent tax by 1.5 percent for two years, and permanently reduces the tax by 0.5 percent.  Additionally, the bill increases the amount of tax credits available for qualified research and development by $11 million.  This will support increased innovation and high wage jobs in our state.  Finally, the bill provides savings for Florida families by offering sales tax holidays for school supplies and disaster preparedness.

HB 7109 now travels to the Florida Senate for legislative action. The Florida Chamber looks forward to working with the members of the Senate to enact targeted tax reform legislation that supports jobs for Florida’s families and strengthens our state’s economic competitiveness.

Take Action Now

You can help these targeted tax reforms continue to make progress by doing the following:

  1. Call your Senator today and urge them to reduce the Florida-only business rent tax, and
  2. Add your name to the list of supporters by signing the Business Rent Tax Coalition’s petition today at www.CutMyBizRent.tax.

Senate Business Rent Tax Bill Clears First Committee Stop

The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds the Florida Senate Community Affairs Committee for passing SB 484, sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) and co-sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), a bill that would save Florida businesses more than $300 million each year. Florida is the only state in the country that charges the business rent tax, putting Florida at a competitive disadvantage to other states, especially neighboring states, when attracting new businesses. SB 484 begins the process of reducing the business rent tax by reducing the state sales tax on these rentals by 1 percent.

The Following Lawmakers Voted on April 3 to Reduce the Florida-Only Business Rent Tax:

  • Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon)
  • Sen. Aaron Bean (R- Jacksonville)
  • Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)
  • Sen. Daphne Campbell (D-North Miami Beach)
  • Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville)
  • Sen. David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs)

Take Action Now

This was the first of three committee hearings for SB 484. On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, the House will consider their version of a tax package that includes a reduction of the business rent tax. Urge your lawmakers to reduce the Florida-only business rent tax.

 

Why Should You Support Cutting the Business Rent Tax?

Visit the Business Rent Tax Coalition’s website, www.CutMyBizRent.tax, to learn more about the effects of the Florida-only business rent tax.

Urge Your Lawmaker to Cut the Florida-Only Business Rent Tax

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is fighting to reduce the Florida-only business rent tax. A one percent tax cut could save $300 million on job creators across Florida. But now your help is needed. Email your State Representative and Senator today and urge them to cut the Florida-only business rent tax.

Reducing the business rent tax is a Florida Chamber priority to help small businesses save over $300 million. Dollars saved from this tax could be used to increase wages, benefits or help small business owners reinvest in their business.  Email your State Representative and Senator today and urge them to cut the Florida-only business rent tax.

Send This Letter to Your Lawmakers Today

Florida is the only state in the nation to charge a tax on commercial leases. Take action now to urge your lawmakers to cut the business rent tax.  

Florida Chamber Tax Legislation Update

The Florida Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to lower the burden of taxation for Florida’s job creators and families. That’s why we are fighting hard at the Capitol to make sure Florida continues to have one of the best tax climates in the nation. Below is a quick recap on Florida Chamber tax-related bills that saw legislative action this week.

Reversing Course on the Insurance Premium Tax Credit (SB 378, Sen. Anitere Flores)

This is a bad-for-business bill that would increase the tax burden on over 300 insurance companies, despite the fact that they remit both the corporate income tax and insurance premium tax to the state. In an unsuccessful move designed to split the business community, the Senate filed an amendment this week that would apply savings from removing the tax credit to the business rent tax. The Florida Chamber remains opposed and testified in opposition this week prior to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax voting Tuesday to pass the bill. To the Senate’s efforts to increase taxes on one industry while reducing taxes elsewhere, Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson told POLITICO Florida,

“Small businesses need the Legislature to begin phasing out the business rent tax. If the Senate is looking for new revenue, we suggest taxing trial lawyers who push frivolous lawsuits.”

 

Business Rent Tax/Tax on Tax (SB 704, Sen. Rene Garcia)

This Florida Chamber-backed bill passed Wednesday in the Senate Community Affairs Committee. It would eliminate the sales tax on the property tax portion of rent for Florida businesses, reduce the cost of leases for small businesses by lowering taxes and makes a first step in eliminating portions of the business rent tax.

Limitations on Property Tax Assessments (HB 21, Rep. Colleen Burton)

This Florida Chamber-backed bill passed the Florida House 110-3 on Thursday. The Senate companion, SB 76, still has two committee hearings remaining. HB 21 proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would continue the 10 percent assessment cap that passed in 2008 and prevent the property value for tax purposes from increasing by more than 10 percent annually.

Take Action Now

For more information about where the Florida Chamber stands on these and other taxation-related issues, click here or contact me at cjohnson@flchamber.com to join our fight to secure Florida’s future.