The business community is going to bat for Gov. Rick Scott’s call to cut the state’s commercial lease tax.
As part of his plan to reduce taxes by $1 billion, Scott proposed cutting the commercial lease tax from 6 percent to 5 percent, saying it would lead to $339 million in tax cuts over the next two years. State Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, is spear heading that effort in the Senate.
A coalition of business groups have launched the “Cut My Rent One Percent” campaign to urge the Legislature to back Scott’s proposal. The Florida chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Florida, the Florida Realtors, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) and the Florida United Business Association (FUBA) started a website to rally supporters behind Scott’s tax cut.
“Florida is the only state that charges a business rent tax,” the campaign notes on the website. “Let's work together to reduce it.
“We’re fighting alongside Gov. Rick Scott in support of a $1 billion package of small business tax cuts,” the site continues. “Gov. Scott’s tax cut priorities are focused on the business community – there’s something in Gov. Scott’s package to benefit almost every business owner in our state. One of the focuses of this tax package is cutting the business rent tax.
“We need all business owners to join the fight,” the site reads. “It’s up to us to get the Florida House and the Florida Senate to pass this business tax relief by the end of legislative session on March 11, 2016.”
Some of the groups behind that website teamed up with other leaders of the business community, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, to launch the Business Rent Tax Coalition, which brought out its own website on Thursday.
The coalition also unveiled a Web video to promote the tax cut.
Scott made the case for the tax cut when he proposed it last month.
“I want Florida to be the small business capital of the world,” Scott said as he released his proposal. “Our state is already home to 500,000 small businesses. The more we can cut taxes – like the one on commercial lease – the more we can grow our small businesses in Florida and further diversify our economy to invest in our future.
“Florida is on a roll,” Scott added. “Our businesses have added almost one million new jobs over the last four years, but we have more work to do. We can’t only create jobs when the national economy is good. We must cut taxes and diversify our economy so Florida can grow even when the national economy is bad. Florida must compete with Texas, and diversify our economy to guard against another recession.”
Besides promoting the commercial lease tax cut, the governor called for ending the income tax on manufacturing and retailers, insisting it would lead to $770 million in savings a year. Scott also backed ending the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, noting it would save businesses almost $77 million annually.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN