As the year comes to a close, I would like to wish all safe and enjoyable holidays, however you celebrate them.
Additionally, I don’t want to miss the chance to toot the horn for progress made on legislative causes that are both commercial related and commercially relevant — sales tax on commercial leases, known as the business tax; the Sadowski Trust Fund; and Flood Insurance.
Once again, a short-term extension (the 14th) was signed that will keep the National Flood Insurance Program alive until December 20th. I, for one, am asking Santa Claus who is scheduled to arrive on 12/25 to once and for all bring about much needed reform to include updated flood mapping, mitigation opportunities and options for a private flood insurance market. Federally backed mortgages in
special flood hazard areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are required by Federal law to carry flood insurance. Please put this on your list as well…thank you.
SADOWSKI TRUST FUND:
Aw yes, how well it make sense when Realtors for the first time agreed to an increase in documentary stamps for the creation of this trust fund to provide for affordable housing; and, how long we have lamented that decision as the legislature contuse to raid those funds to be used for other purposes; even though there is no need of shortage of affordable housing assistance, Florida Realtors has led the fight each year, seeking to increase the amount of this fund to be left to be used for affordable programs. The Governor this year made stopping the raid a priority, however, the funds continue to be used for other purposes. FR will continue to make this a priority, as will the governor.
Reduction of the sales tax on commercial leases, now known as the business tax, continues to be a priority for FR and commercial practitioners; since Florida is the only state that charges this tax, creating an unfair playing field in Florida. The initial goal was to get the legislature to stop taxing business in this way, however, over time it became apparent that our best effort would be to work toward reduction of the rate with the goal of phasing it out. Success has been slow, but the rate was reduced in 2018 to 5.7% and effective January 1, 2020 will be reduced to 5.5%. The real value here is that there is some momentum in reducing the rate.
Claudette Bruck, CCIM Chapter Legislative Chair