A Florida TaxWatch research effort headed by Neal Communities’ President, Pat Neal, earned the “Most Distinguished Research” award recently from the Government Research Association at its annual conference held in New Orleans.
“The task force has done a great service to Floridians,” noted Neal, a former State Senator and chair of the 21-member task force. “The impacts of expanding the exemption from this tax will be felt by all of us, and will play a significant role in accelerating our economy.”
The Florida TaxWatch Research Institute, Inc. conducted the study, “Report and Recommendations of the Florida Tangible Personal Property Tax Task Force.” The 64-page report examining Florida’s $1.8 billion tangible personal property tax on businesses may now result in an amendment to the Florida Constitution.
Assessed on all goods that a business owns, the tax is generally paid on the value of machinery, equipment, furniture, computers, signs, supplies, and other such property.
The study looked at whether the tax acts as an impediment to capital formation and job creation or if the repeal or reduction of the tax would spur economic development. A key recommendation, requiring a constitutional amendment, calls for tangible personal property tax exemptions for all manufacturers and other state-targeted industries and high-impact sectors.
In response, the 2012 Florida Legislature proposed a state constitutional amendment to reduce the tangible personal property tax by increasing exemptions. Proposition 10, which will now appear on the November ballot, increases the exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.
It’s estimated that more than 156,000 small businesses will be exempt from the tax if the amendment passes. The measure also allows local governments to increase the exemption and/or create targeted tangible personal property tax exemptions by simple majority vote.
The Most Distinguished Research award is “based on the challenge of the subject matter, the degree to which the study is ground-breaking, and the quality of execution,” according to the association. “Other criteria include the use of new and/or innovative research methods and the usefulness of the study to other states and/or municipalities.”
Photo: Pat Neal