Legislative Update - October 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

Legislators met in Tallahassee the week of October 5-10 for interim committee meetings. Following are highlights that may be of interest to FBMA member businesses.

  • SB 76 Tax-Exempt Income (aka Corporate Income Tax) passed the Senate Banking & Insurance committee on October 6. The bill increases the amount of income that is exempt from Florida corporate income tax (5.5%) from $50,000 to $75,000.

  • SB 92 Contaminated Sites passed the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee on October 7. The bill allows additional considerations in the use of risk-based corrective action in contamination cleanup and brownfield site rehabilitation. It authorizes DEP to use alternative cleanup target levels without requiring institutional controls in remediating contaminated sites. The bill defines long term natural attenuation as a site rehabilitation program task for a period of more than five years. DEP will be able to use long term natural attenuation as a technique for site rehabilitation. A definition for background concentration is provided that includes natural and other manmade impacts unrelated to the discharge of pollutants at a contaminated site. DEP is prohibited from requiring cleanup target levels that are more stringent than the site specific background concentration.

  • SB 116 Tax on Sales, Use and Other Transactions (Commercial rent and lease tax) passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee on October 6. The bill reduces the tax imposed on rental or license fees charged for the use of commercial property from 6 percent to 5 percent effective January 1, 2017.

  • SB 180 Trade Secrets passed the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee on October 5. The bill amends the definition of trade secret to include financial information and provides that any individual who steal, copies without authorization, or misappropriates a trade secret is subject to a third degree felony.

  • SB 186 Social Media Privacy passed the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee also on October 5. The bill prohibits employers from requiring or requesting an employee or prospective employee to provide a user name, password or other means of accessing a social media account, unless it is an account used for business purposes. Penalties are provided.

 

Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, made a presentation on economic incentives to the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development on October 7. Of note:

• The most projects with state incentives tied to them are in Duval, Hillsborough, Orange, Brevard, and Broward counties.

• Most of the jobs created are in the $40,000 - $60,000 range

Click here to see the full report.

On October 7, Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary for Ecosystem Restoration, FDEP, made a presentation to the House Agriculture & Natural Resource Appropriations Subcommittee on springs. He showed where all the 1st-4th magnitude springs are in the state, the funding going to protection, and how best management practices and land acquisition were helping protect springs. This is of interest for businesses which might be located in springs protection areas.

The House Finance & Tax Committee, on October 7, introduced their “Work Plan Concepts.” It addresses tax cuts for consideration in the area of sales tax, property tax, communications tax, and corporate tax. It also included two draft bills: one for a constitutional amendment to limit taxes on homesteaded property; the other for a constitutional amendment that would create a taxable value limit for real and tangible personal property not to exceed just value less a certain amount AND imposing an additional sales and use tax at a rate yet to be determined (swapping property taxes with sales taxes). We will keep you posted as the concepts develop.

In the House Economic Affairs Committee on October 8, Amy Baker, the Office of Economic Demographic Research spoke about economic incentives. She suggested that Florida should grow their own companies instead of recruiting from out of state.

Looking ahead to the week of October 19, 2015:

• Legislators will be in Tallahassee for another Special Session on congressional redistricting;

 

• On October 20 the Senate Finance & Tax Committee will consider SB 76, Corporate Income Tax Reduction and SB 116 Commercial Rents and Leases.

 

No new bills have been filed of interest to FBMA members since our October 5, 2015 Report for the 2016 Session.

Nancy Stephens, CAE, DPL 10/15/2015

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