Florida Gov. Rick Scott seeks $100 million cut in business rent taxes

by Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

January 28, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday will call for a $100 million cut in the 6 percent statewide sales tax on business rents to complete his election-year proposal for $500 million in tax and fee reductions.

Scott plans to make the announcement at an Ace Hardware store in Orlando. Scott said Florida businesses pay about $1.4 billion a year in sales taxes on their rent payments, and he said the tax cut — which equates to one half of one percentage point — will make is more affordable for businesses to lease space. The governor’s office said the tax reduction would amount to savings of $104 million a year.

“Florida is the only state that imposes this tax, and we must keep working to make Florida the best place in the world to start and grow a business,” the governor said in a statement in advance of the announcement. When Scott went on a statewide tax cut listening tour last year, he frequently heard from small business owners about the unpopularity of the sales tax on business rents. (Residential household rent has been exempt from the sales tax in Florida since 1971).

Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, said in a statement that small business owners would welcome the tax reduction.

Scott’s tax cut package also includes a $400 million rollback in steep increases in car and truck registration fees enacted by the Legislature in 2009. That rollback would save a typical motorist $25 a year.