Reduction in real-estate lease tax approved

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

A Senate committee Monday approved a plan that would reduce from 6 percent to 5 percent a tax on commercial real-estate leases. The Finance and Tax Committee supported the bill (SB 140), which Chairwoman Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, said would help small businesses.

Hukill, who is sponsoring the bill, also said the lease tax hurts Florida’s ability to compete for businesses that plan to relocate.

Under the bill, the cut would take effect Jan. 1, 2016, and would reduce state tax revenue by $97.8 million and local tax revenue by $12.7 million during the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to a Senate staff analysis.

During later years, when the cut would be in effect for a full 12 months, it would reduce state tax revenue by an estimated $234.9 million and local tax revenue by $30.3 million. Amber Hughes, a lobbyist for the Florida League of Cities, said local governments are concerned about the reduction in revenue under the bill.

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