Just about every industry will have skin in the game when the Florida Legislature convenes on March 4.

Here are three priorities for the commercial real estate community, as selected and broken down by Bill Roberts, co-chair of Florida Gulf Coast Commercial Association of Realtors’ government committee. He’s a broker associate of business sales & acquisitions for Prudential Commercial Real Estate FL.

 See a proposed decrease in sales tax on commercial leases come through. Roberts says this is far and away FGCAR’s top issue. Gov. Rick Scott included a $104 million cut in the tax in his budget. If instituted, the new rate should drop from 6 to around 5.5 percent. The House and the Senate each have their own bills pending, which would more likely result in a 1 percent drop. “No other state imposes this tax on commercial leases,” Roberts said. “It puts us at an economic disadvantage in terms of recruitment. We’d like to see the tax go away entirely. It represents $1.3 billion in state income, but it also represents 185,000 jobs that could result from eliminating it.”

• Find at least a partial solution to soaring flood insurance rates. “The rates affect a lot of commercial properties along any waterfront,” Roberts said. “We’re encouraging the legislature to come up with an in-state solution.”

• Stop raiding the Sadowski Trust Fund. A portion of the documentary stamps collected on all real estate transactions go into a trust fund earmarked for affordable housing. “Recently the state has seen fit to raid that trust fund to balance the state budget,” Roberts explained. “That money goes to help folks buy homes and rent property. It’s big for the economy.”


Source: TBBJ