Florida Gov. Rick Scott told Realtors® in Orlando that he again included an issue close to members’ hearts – a reduction in the state’s business rent tax – as part of his proposed 2017 budget that he’ll send to the Florida Legislature for consideration.
Scott announced his tax cuts statewide in a two-day tour, with one of the five stops at Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Meetings going on last week in Orlando. Scott made the announcement during the Florida Real Estate Trends 2017 conference.
“We’re honored that Gov. Rick Scott made time to update Florida’s Realtors on his proposed budget,” says 2017 Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, broker-owner with Lifestyle Realty Group in Stuart. “Realtors across the state stand ready to work with the governor to advocate for a cut in Florida’s onerous business rent tax.
“Florida is the only state that has a tax on commercial leases. It’s unfair to our small businesses, and it makes it more difficult to attract new business and industry to the Sunshine State. It also causes an additional burden if an existing Florida business hopes to invest more or expand, which in turn creates new opportunities for families in their communities.”
Gov. Scott called his trip around the state his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Tax Cut Tour. Overall, he proposed $618 million in tax cuts to help Florida families and small businesses. Of those tax cuts, he earmarked $454 million – 73 percent – to reduce the business rent tax.
“If enacted, the proposal would reduce a business’ rent tax by 25 percent in 2018.
“We are fighting to secure a bright future for Florida, and cutting taxes will help make our state the top location for job creators to invest in for generations to come,” Scott said. “I made a promise to keep fighting for jobs until my very last day as governor, and I ask the (Florida) Legislature to join me in fighting for the future of our students, our small businesses, our veterans and our families by cutting $618 million in taxes this year.”
Scott will send his final budget proposal to the Florida Legislature, which will consider his recommendations during the session that convenes on March 7, 2017.
In addition to the business lease tax deduction, Scott proposed the following tax cuts:
- Four sales tax holidays that would save Floridians an estimated $98 million this year: $72 million during a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday; $7 million from a nine-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday; $18.4 million from a three-day veteran’s sales tax holiday; and $500,000 from a one-day camping and fishing sales tax holiday.
- A sales tax holiday on textbooks for the 2017-2018 academic year that would provide students an estimated $48 million savings.
- An increase in the corporate tax exemption from $50,000 to $75,000. If enacted, Scott estimates that 22.5 percent of businesses that currently pay state income taxes won’t have to do so. The exemption was increased from $5,000 to $25,000 in 2011 and $50,000 in 2012.