FL chambers of commerce seek to end business tax

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 17:57:26-05

Florida's legislature will start meeting again next week. Several of the measures lawmakers will be considering are already generating a lot of buzz, including one that would affect nearly every business in the state.


Currently, every business that rents space in Florida is hit with a business rent tax of six percent. Now the Florida Chamber of Commerce, along with 26 chambers around the state, are fighting to eliminate that fee.


Studio Twenty8 has a prime place in the Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel. In just the past year, the business has tripled in size.


"Very, very expensive to be in here, but it's also amazing because of the amount of traffic and students it's brought," said owner Steven Morgan.


Adding to the high cost of rent, Morgan has to fork out six percent of his monthly rent as an added tax. For him, that's more than $1,200 a month, or over $14,000 a year. Florida is the only state in the US with a business rent tax.


"It's a burden. It's costly to the small businesses in our community," said Hope Allen, president and CEO of the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce.


That's why the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and 26 chambers statewide, are trying to get rid of the business rent tax. Bills now headed to the state legislature would roll back the fee one percent each year, until it's eliminated completely.


"We're very supportive of businesses in our community and really want to make sure this is something that can help them as they grow their business," Allen said.


For small businesses like Big Frog Custom T-Shirts, getting rid of the business rent tax could help with future growth, new equipment, and even boosting worker wages.


"Absolutely. Every little penny helps," said Nathan Sprowell, owner of Big Frog.


And with small businesses creating an estimated two of every three jobs in the state, it's not hard to see how cost savings for them without the business rent tax in place, could mean more services and more jobs for you. 


You can learn more about the proposal to eliminate the business rent tax here:  


The Florida Chamber of Commerce is planning to ask its members to sign a petition in support of the measure.