BOMA Florida Members Lobby State Lawmakers (recap updated)

BOMA Florida Members Lobby State Lawmakers

BOMA had a successful 2019 Session in Tallahassee.

BOMA's top priority has been and will continue to be - further reductions in the Business Rent Tax.  This session the final tax package further reduced the tax from 5.7% to 5.5% effective January 1, 2020 -- a modest reduction but certainly heading in the right direction.  Hopefully, as the state continues to grow to produce a corresponding increase in state revenues, the legislature will see fit to continue reductions in this burdensome tax.  BOMA had hoped for a larger reduction in the tax this session but unexpected hurricane costs reduced state revenues - preventing a larger cut.
BOMA's Annual Day in Tallahassee on April 9th was well timed.  BOMA members from around the state gathered in the Senate Chambers of the Old Capitol to discuss issues and prepare for visits with legislators and staff. Our morning guest was Rep. Toby Overdorf (R-Stuart).  Toby gave us a very informative session overview and answered questions from attendees.  We also received a presentation from Ken Rosenfeld, Director of State and Local Affairs, BOMA International. Upon adjournment of the morning meeting, our team visited with Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) in his Senate office. After the meeting, we retreated to the Senate Chamber for a group picture with the President. He was very gracious and pledged to continue efforts to reduce the Business Rent Tax. 
BOMA's 2019 legislator of the year Rep. Brian Aliva (R-Miami) had a conflict and could not attend our morning meeting, but in the early afternoon, BOMA leaders met with him and presented him with the Legislator of the Year award.  He was surprised and expressed great appreciation. After meeting with Rep. Avila, BOMA members fanned out across the Capitol and spent the afternoon meeting with legislators and staff.
It seems every session a surprise issue emerges. This year Gov. DeSantis in his State of the State message called for a deregulation bill, later titled "The Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act". The bill primarily targeted professions such as labor organizations, geologists, landscape architects, interior designers, etc., however, buried in the bottom of a 70+ page bill there was language reducing the size of the Building Commission from 27 to 17.  One of the entities being removed from the commission was a representative of BOMA -- a major shock. The bill was first considered in the House -- sponsored by Rep. Blaze Ingoglia - a homebuilder and former Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.  His stated purpose was to "balance" the representation on the Commission to favor the homebuilder's point of view -- to reduce what he called onerous building code requirements on residences that needlessly drive up costs. He refused to agree to reinsert a BOMA representative in his bill in the House.  An added obstacle was that in addition to the Governor, DPR Secretary Halsey Beshears also strongly supported the bill. The bill easily passed three committees in the House and was placed on the House calendar.

In total, the 2019 regular session included:

  • 3,571 Bills and PCBs filed
  • 2,997 Amendments filed
  • 3,765 Votes Taken
  • 40 Floor Sessions
  • 196 Bills passed both chambers 

2019 produced the largest state budget in Florida's history - $91 Billion.  After much horse-trading, the final appropriations bill was approved by both Houses on May 4th.  Gov. DeSantis is reviewing the proposed budget and will reveal his line-item veto list within 15 days of receipt.  DeSantis has vowed to veto many line-item appropriations.
The next Florida Legislative Session will commence on January 14, 2020.  The last day of the 2020 session is March 13, 2020.

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