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.

Florida Chamber Supports Targeted Tax Reforms To Make Florida More Competitive

Florida is moving in the right direction – Florida creates one in every 10 jobs in the Unites States, our unemployment remains low and more than 1.2 million private-sector jobs have been created since December 2010. In order to continue growing jobs, lowering the cost of living and the cost of doing business, the Florida Chamber of Commerce supports targeted tax reforms.

Recently, Florida Governor Rick Scott released his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” budget, which includes several Florida Chamber-backed efforts, like:

  • Business Rent Tax reduction for commercial leases,
  • Cutting the Corporate Income Tax for 80 percent of Florida’s businesses,
  • Sales tax holidays for back-to-school shopping, disaster preparedness and more, and a special sales tax holiday for veterans,
  • Fee cuts for seniors, veterans and businesses, and more.

Carolyn Johnson, Director of Business, Economic Development and Innovation Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, testified today in support of the governor’s proposal in the House Ways & Means Committee, adding that it is the Florida Chamber’s hope that the R&D Tax Credit will also be considered for this year’s tax plan.

“We are thrilled that the Governor has made the business rent tax the centerpiece of his tax proposal this year, and are supportive of the broad-based tax cuts that the Governor has recommended. In addition, we ask that the House consider increasing the cap for the R&D Tax Credit, which has been oversubscribed since its inception and encourages R&D in our state,” said CAROLYN JOHNSON, Florida Chamber Director of Business and Economic Development and Innovation Policy.

Take Action Now

For more information about this issue, or to get involved in the fight to cut taxes, visit our targeted tax reform issue page or contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com.

Legislative Agenda Puts Jobs, Growth and Economic Opportunity in the Driver Seat

 

Urges Lawmakers to Put Florida’s Long-Term Competitiveness Ahead of Short-Term Political Fixes

TALLAHASSEE (November 17, 2015) – As the Florida Chamber enters its 100th year of fighting for business, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today unveiled its 2016 Competitiveness Agenda – a comprehensive legislative agenda that focuses resources and expertise to advance jobs, growth and greater economic opportunities for Floridians. Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda builds on 104 pro-jobs bills passed and signed into law in the last five years, and is helping position Florida to be America’s number one private sector job creator.

Although there are more than 30 scored items in the 2016 agenda, here is a sample of what will make Florida more competitive:

  • A tax climate that helps generate job growth (we support a $1 billion cut),
  • A talented workforce to fill those jobs (continued education reform),
  • A diversified economy, and further improving Florida’s business climate (we support the $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund and other improvements to EFI),
  • A quality of life that includes science-based water policy, and
  • Smarter healthcare outcomes through transparency, competition and ending the cost shift.

Looking at Florida’s economic horizon, it’s clear Florida is making positive strides. More than 941,000 private-sector jobs have been created since Governor Rick Scott was first elected, approximately 3,000 regulations have been eliminated or improved, more than one billion in taxes have been cut, and Florida’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in seven years.

Looking forward, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish projects that by December, Florida will have created one million net new private-sector jobs since Governor Scott was elected, and he projects that Florida will create 220,000 new jobs in 2016.

“While Florida is moving in the right direction, now is not the time to be complacent,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida is in competition for private-sector jobs with other states, and therefore we must ensure a tax and business climate that is welcoming to job growth, ensure that we have a talented workforce to fill those jobs, ensure that Florida’s quality of life provides sustainable water resource solutions and that we lower the cost of healthcare through better outcomes. Now is the time to put Florida’s long-term economic security ahead of short-term political fixes.”

Based on input from Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business from 2015, the Florida Chamber’s 2016 Competitiveness Agenda is a blueprint of legislative priorities that it will lobby, track and score this Legislative Session.

LOWERING THE COST OF LIVING ON FLORIDA FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES

To lower the cost of living and the cost of doing business, the Florida Chamber recommends approximately one billion dollars in targeted tax cuts as follows:

  • Phasing out the Business Rent Tax (taxes on commercial leases),
  • Continuing to phase out the corporate income tax,
  •  Permanently eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, and
  • Supporting sales tax holidays on back-to-school items and hurricane preparedness.

CHAMPIONING A TALENTED WORKFORCE TO FILL JOBS

Talent is the new economic development currency. A quality education is the best way to ensure students can compete in a global economy, and therefore the Florida Chamber recommends:

  • Staying the course on school grades, and issuing school grades this year, and
  • Providing educational opportunities and economic independence for individuals with unique abilities.

DIVERSIFYING FLORIDA’S ECONOMY & IMPROVING FLORIDA’S BUSINESS CLIMATE

To build the perfect business climate, the Florida Chamber recommends:

  • Investing in Florida’s Enterprise Fund,
  • Fixing Florida’s broken legal system by addressing Assignment of Benefits and Fair Settlement lawsuit abuses, and
  • Engaging a workers’ comp legislative solution if the Florida Supreme Court rules against job creators and in favor of trial lawyers in pending court cases.

SECURING FLORIDA’S WATER FUTURE

To secure Florida’s water future, and avoid California’s mistakes, the Florida Chamber recommends science-based water policy that will:

  • Help ensure a clean and abundant water supply,
  • Reduce the prospect of “water wars” among users in resource-limited areas, and
  • Promote strategic partnerships between the public and private sector in achieving water resource development goals.

LOWERING THE COST OF HEALTHCARE

Whether or not the legislature expands Medicaid, the Florida Chamber recommends reducing the cost of healthcare by:

  • Greater transparency – whether pricing outcomes or value of procedures or facilities – provides greater competition and is a win for Florida families,
  • Eliminating healthcare fraud and abuse through innovative practices and technologies,
  • Allowing telemedicine to serve as an alternative healthcare delivery system to increase capacity, deliver high quality of care and control costs, and
  • Increasing the capacity and number of medical professionals by allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to practice to their fullest potential.

 

A complete listing of the Florida Chamber’s 2016 Competitiveness Agenda which outlines more than 30 priorities the Florida Chamber will be lobbying, tracking and scoring this Legislative Session, is outlined in Where We Stand and available at www.FloridaChamber.com.

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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.

Florida Chamber Encourages Shoppers to Save Money This Weekend

Beginning this Friday, August 1 and lasting through Sunday, August 3, many Florida residents will take advantage of our state’s annual “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday. The Florida Chamber of Commerce encourages shoppers to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase select items tax free.

“During this sales-tax holiday families will be able to save money on school supplies and other back-to-school items that will set students up for success in the upcoming school year,” said Governor Scott in a statement. “We are proud to offer this sales-tax holiday as it will result in direct savings for Florida families as they prepare for the school year.”

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, no Florida sales tax or local option tax will be collected on:

  • Sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $100 or less per item,
  • Certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item, or
  • The first $750 of the sales price for computers and certain computer-related accessories when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

Considering Florida’s general sales tax rate is six percent, shoppers can expect to save at least that percentage, and potentially more considering local-option taxes, on all applicable items.

“The sales tax-free holiday is an excellent opportunity for families to stock up on the supplies their children need for the coming school year,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “I appreciate Governor Scott’s dedication to ensuring families have this much-deserved break.”

Florida’s tax free shopping weekend is an ideal reminder of the Florida Chamber’s fight for e-fairness and the need to protect Florida businesses by closing the Internet sales tax loophole that lets government pick winners and losers.

During the 2014 Florida Legislative Session the Florida Chamber of Commerce proposed closing the Internet sales tax loophole in exchange for lowering other state taxes, such as the communication services tax that is charged to every cell phone bill in Florida. Unfortunately, our efforts were unsuccessful. Last year, renowned economists Art Laffer and Donna Arduin conducted a study showing that closing the online sales tax loophole could lead to more than 107,000 new jobs in Florida and 1.5 million new jobs nationwide in the next decade.

At the Florida Chamber, we will continue to work for tax cuts that put more money back into the pockets of Florida’s families.

 

Learn More:

The Florida Department of Revenue has released a list of all the items that will be tax exempt this weekend along with FAQ for businesses and taxpayers on their website.