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Florida Tax Cut Winners and Losers

by William C. Coleman III, Orlando, April 2016

 

The majority of Governor Rick Scott's proposals to cut $1 billion dollars in business taxes failed to win approval from Florida lawmakers in the 2016 session, but some did pass.

 

The most prominent winning and losing proposal centered on the manufacturing equipment tax and the commercial rent tax.

 

Manufacturing Equipment Tax Eliminated

 

The Legislature approved permanently eliminating the sales tax on equipment used in manufacturing.

 

This tax cut is estimated to reduce the tax liability of Florida's manufacturing businesses by $76.9 million annually beginning in 2017.

 

Supporters say eliminating the tax will make Florida more competitive for manufacturing businesses to start or expand.

 

Commercial Rent Tax Remains

 

Florida is the only state in nation that charges a tax on commercial rentals and leases. Businesses pay about 6 percent of the cost of renting commercial space as an added tax to the state.

 

Governor Scott proposed reducing the tax by one percent in 2017 to save businesses $339 million over the next two fiscal years.

 

Despite lobbying efforts by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and NAIOP Florida, the business rent tax cut did not pass.

 

No Special Session Expected

 

Governor Scott says he will veto more than 200 items totaling $256 million in the $82 billion budget. The veto list is actually shorter than many lawmakers expected. It's about half the number of programs that the governor cut in the 2015 budget.

 

As a result, it is unlikely that the Legislature will return to the Capitol in a Special Session to override the budget vetoes.