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.

DEO’s Ken Lawson Shares Importance of Investing in VISIT FLORIDA, the QTI Program, and Communities Impacted by Hurricanes

With the Florida Legislature currently putting finishing touches on Florida’s next state budget, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity CEO Ken Lawson tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that Floridians enjoy a friendly tax climate because of Florida’s visitors contributing to the economy.

“By virtue of tourism, we’re not paying a state income tax. Out-of-state tourists are investing in Florida, spending money across the state, that means that’s increasing our tax base. So, it’s very important that VISIT FLORIDA is funded to help market the state across the country and the world.”

-Director Ken Lawson
CEO, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Director Lawson, Florida’s top economic development leader, also shared the importance of not letting the Qualified Targeted Industries (QTI) program sunset.

“QTI is a great tool for small, medium and large communities across Florida. This tool causes companies to create jobs in aerospace, finance and diversified areas,” he explained about the program that allows job creators who invest in their business, create jobs and pay their taxes, to seek tax refunds based on their investment.

Director Lawson also highlights how DEO is playing a vital role in helping with long-term hurricane disaster recovery.

“Under Governor DeSantis’s leadership, DEO is fully committed to long-term disaster recovery, ensuring they put funds out across the State of Florida,” Lawson said. “With Hurricane Irma, we awarded $300 million so far, with Hurricane Michael we are working on our state action plan.”

Call, Text, Email Your Lawmaker

Florida’s businesses need your support. Reach out to your lawmakers and encourage them to support continuing Florida’s QTI program and VISIT FLORIDA. Find your Representative HERE. Find your Senator HERE.

The Florida Chamber also has a goal for every community to have resiliency plans in times of natural disaster. Tell us HERE about your community’s resiliency plan.

Cutting Taxes on Florida Families…

Floridians Pay the Ninth Highest CST in the Country

Did you know that nearly every Floridian pays a communications services tax (CST)? Those are taxes charged on landline and mobile phones, cable television and satellite services, by both your local government and the state.

Worse yet, Floridians are paying the ninth highest CST in the country.

The Florida Chamber is working to reduce the CST by lowering the local CST rate in favor of a more streamlined rate system. Doing so will:

• Lower costs on families and job creators, and
• Make Florida more competitive by increasing predictability for businesses.

Please join us in thanking Senator Travis Hutson for advancing this Florida Chamber-backed bill. Email Senator Hutson at Hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov.

New Jersey’s Tax Gift to Florida

Originally published in the Wall Street Journal
July 1, 2018

 

The wizards of Trenton decide to drive more residents out of state.

Call it the consummate New Jersey compromise. Governor Phil Murphy and State Senate leader Steve Sweeney have been fighting over whether to raise tax rates on individuals or businesses, and over the weekend they decided to raise taxes on both.

Messrs. Murphy and Sweeney agreed to raise the state’s income tax on residents making more than $5 million to 10.75% from 8.97% and the corporate rate on companies with more than $1 million in income to 11.5% from 9%.

This will give New Jersey the fourth highest marginal income tax rate on individuals and the second highest corporate rate after Iowa. The corporate tax increase will supposedly last two years and then phase out over the next two years, but that’s what politicians always say.

 

Click here to read the complete article in the Wall Street Journal.

Reemployment Tax in Florida Remaining Low for the Third Year in a Row

Florida’s reemployment tax rate will remain low in 2018 for the third year in a row— with 60 percent of Florida’s employers paying the minimum tax rate, according to Florida Governor Rick Scott.

The reemployment tax, which was implemented in 2000, helps fund Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Trust Fund in an effort to reemploy Florida’s unemployed workforce. Since 2012, Florida’s businesses have saved more than $4.9 billion due to reductions in reemployment taxes from as high as $120.80 to today’s low rate of $7.00. By keeping the reemployment tax rate low, Florida’s job creators are able to save and invest in the growth of their businesses.

Lowering the cost of living and cost of doing business remain top priorities for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. As Florida continues to outpace the U.S. economy in job growth, with no personal income tax, and a projected $1 trillion economy by the end of 2018— the minimum rate remaining at $7.00 per employee, helps position Florida for another year of growth.

Get Involved

If you believe in targeted tax reforms that put job creators first, take our targeted tax reform survey today.

 

A Guide to Tax Issues

 

Learn More About Tax Issues   Join a Caucus

 

Resources

Florida Chamber Announces Senator Kelli Stargel Named a 2017 Distinguished Advocate

 

Download How They Voted     Find Your Legislator’s Grade

 

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 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.

Florida’s Steady And Uprising Sunshine

By Rex Sinquefield, Contributor

While some states’ economic outlooks appear cloudy at best, Florida’s financial future remains bright. This week the Florida Chamber of Commerce released the details of its 2016 Competitiveness Agenda, a detailed legislative blueprint that dovetails nicely with Governor Rick Scott’s pro-growth plans. The Chamber’s agenda offers strong support for two key Scott initiatives: a call for $1 billion in tax cuts to attract new businesses to the state.

Importantly, neither the Chamber nor the Governor show any sign of slowing down on their pro-growth agendas. Florida’s recent successes are encouraging those in business leadership and civic leadership to double down on their efforts to ensure that Florida’s economy continues to rebound at its current quick pace. Late last year, the Sunshine State surpassed New York as the third-most populous state in the nation. Each day, Florida grows by more than 800 people. The 2016 “State Business Tax Climate Index” from the nonprofit Tax Foundation once again ranks Florida among the top 10; this year, Florida takes the number-four spot thanks to its business-friendliness and nonexistent individual income tax.

Click here to read the complete article in Forbes.

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’s Upcoming Special Session Offers Second Chance to Make Florida More Competitive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

 

The Florida Legislature now has until July 1 to reconvene and pass a budget.
The session could include all, none, or some combination of
the items that were in play during the regular session.

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 1, 2015) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced that, while disappointed the 2015 regular session did not produce the anticipated results, the upcoming special legislative session will offer a second chance to make Florida more competitive.

“A special session, or several sessions, brings the hope that legislators can hit the reset button and pick up the business of making Florida more competitive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber.

As media has widely reported, the Florida House and Senate remained $4.2 billion apart on their proposed budgets – primarily due to differing views on approaches to expanding healthcare coverage. As a consequence, lawmakers did not achieve their one constitutional duty of passing a balanced budget during the 60-day regular legislative session.

As a result, lawmakers will have a second chance to pass a budget during a special legislative session – which is constitutionally required before July 1. During that time, the Florida Chamber is hopeful lawmakers will make Florida more competitive by passing a budget that includes:

As Winston Churchill said:  “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

“The Florida Chamber encourages our state’s leaders to rally around a common bipartisan cause – and that cause is stronger and sustainable economic growth in order to expand opportunities for all Floridians,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Summary outlines priorities from the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda that passed during the recently completed regular legislative session, including the Florida Chamber-backed education accountability bill (signed into law by Governor Scott), a smart infrastructure bill designating freight and logistics zones, a growth leadership measure and private property rights bill.

Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda was developed based on input from Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business. The chamber’s agenda serves as a blueprint of legislative priorities that help secure Florida’s future and lead Florida to a new and sustainable economy.

 

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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’s Bottom Line: Sen. Tom Lee Discusses Florida’s Budget, Tax Cuts and More

“We are really fortunate here in Florida that thanks to the [Florida] Chamber of Commerce and a lot of other people who are moving a pro-business agenda forward, our Governor, we are growing revenues here in our state,” said  Senator Tom Lee, Senate Appropriations Chair. “Asset values are up, unemployment is down, things are moving in the right direction- we have an additional billion dollars this year.”

But while Florida is moving in the right direction, our work is far from over.

“There are a lot of opportunities on how we allocate those resources,” said Sen. Lee. “But we have some challenges in the implementation of Amendment 1, and we have teaching hospitals and hospitals that do a lot of unreimbursed care that are being hit by the decision by the CMS on funding out of Washington, so we have to deal with some of those things.”

While the voters spoke on Amendment 1, concerns still remain on the impact of setting a  budget through constitutional mandates, particularly to programs that also used portions of the document stamps tax, such as Affordable Housing and transportation.

“Some of that money was going somewhere else beforehand so we have to find some way to backfill those programs like Affordable Housing and transportation, both of them have a huge multiplier effect on our economy, they create jobs,” explained Sen. Lee. “As we look to solutions to the problems that we are facing with the low income pool going away in our state, trying to find a way to hold transportation and affordable housing harmless is going to be a huge priority.”

At the Florida Chamber, we believe the Governor’s plan for targeted tax reform is good for our economy and is one solution to budgeting challenges- particularly when it comes to communications services tax and the tax on commercial sales leases. In fact, Florida is currently the only state in the nation that charges a communications services tax.

“There are proposals moving through the legislature on a communications services tax and one related to reducing the tax on commercial leases,” said Sen. Lee. “As a landlord in the commercial real estate businesses, that one has particular affinity to me. Both of them are very broad based, both of them will have sweeping impacts across the spectrum of small business and individuals who pay those taxes, whether they are passed down through businesses or directly on their cell phone bills. The question is really going to become- how much money do we have to spend, so how far down that list of priorities that have been set are we going to be able to buy these tax cuts?”

As Florida’s Legislative Session undergoes its third week, Sen. Lee remains hopeful on Florida’s direction.

“Aren’t we fortunate to be in a state where we are talking about cutting taxes in the context of the national government, that’s talking about raising them?”