Our Local Advocacy Chair Updates Us on Government Affairs

 


Meetings with our Lawmakers: A Tallahassee Day Report

Each year during legislative sessions, commercial real estate owners and managers travel to Tallahassee to spend a day at the Capitol to discuss BOMA’s stance on issues important to our industry. Having a strong showing from our members at the Capitol sends the message that BOMA is a robust association with the backing of a talented and involved membership. As you can imagine, 2021 was much different.

While nothing beats the intimacy of a face-to-face meeting, our virtual conferences with lawmakers were quite productive. Here are a few topics that were discussed:

Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDAs) | In 2016, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) made significant changes to Florida building fire codes. Currently, two-way radio communication enhancements or signal booster systems are required in all buildings by 2022. Our latest meetings indicated that the deadline for the new requirement might change to 2025. This would be a big help to building owners and managers from an expense standpoint and provide the ability to gain more knowledge of the available systems.

Building Codes Appeal Board | Lawmakers are discussing a Building Codes Appeal Board. This initiative will provide building owners and managers a more fair process when it comes to code enforcement.

Sales Tax from Internet Sales & Rent Tax | As of July 1st, Florida will require online sellers to collect 6% sales tax. I write about state and local government taxes and spending. Florida's online shoppers will have to start paying sales taxes on all purchases starting this July.

This new law makes out-of-state retailers responsible for giving that money back to the State of Florida. Floridians are supposed to pay, but most people either don’t know about it or don’t pay it because it isn’t strongly enforced. The changes are expected to raise $1 billion in new revenue.

This sales tax change is significant to commercial real estate because the revenues will allow for a reduction in rent tax from 5.5% to 2%. While our industry has advocated for an elimination of the rent tax, this 350-basis point reduction is a big win since previous efforts only resulted in reductions of one or two basis points over the course of two years. You can learn more about this by reading Florida CRE Gets Long-Sought Tax Break On Commercial Leases

Overall, it was a productive session. Many thanks to Cary Fronstin, RPA, LEED GA, BOMA Fellow of Foundry Commercial, for representing BOMA Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beaches at Tallahassee Day.

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