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Yesterday, the Florida Senate passed SB 50, a Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber legislative priority, which offsets a looming $713 million tax increase with revenue that has always been due, but that will finally be collected, from a sales tax on online sales. This bill will help level the playing field for “brick and mortar” businesses. Senator Travis Hutson, who supports job creators and the business community, voted to support SB 50 on four different occasions!

This bill by Senator Joe Gruters is not a new tax on Floridians, however the bill shifts the burden to the business to collect and remit the tax instead of the consumer. Florida and Missouri are the only two states that have not passed economic nexus legislation following the Wayfair v. U.S. Supreme Court decision, however the Florida Chamber has been fighting to modernize Florida’s tax laws for nearly two decades.

This bill is the result of an announcement made between Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls who were rightfully concerned with rising unemployment tax rates as employers try and keep doors open and do their part to relaunch our economy. This creative solution combines two of the Florida Chamber’s top priorities this legislative session by leveling the playing field for main street “brick and mortar” businesses and avoiding a significant tax increase on Florida’s job creators.

The Florida Chamber has been working with the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber on how to offset the pandemic-fueled recession’s impact on unemployment taxes as many employers were forced to layoff employees. At the start of session, the Florida Chamber led the business community in a sign on letter to the Governor, President and Speaker asking for relief from an automatic $713 million tax increase that was to come due in April and May as the legislative session was wrapping up.  Today’s action to backfill the trust fund over the next several years, barring any additional black swan events, ensures that job creators will be held harmless from massive unemployment tax increases resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as they seek to accelerate Florida’s economic recovery.

The House companion legislation, HB 15 by Representative Chuck Clemons, has one committee hearing remaining before it is ready to be heard by the full House. 

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