From left to right: Rick Kearney, Patrick Arrington, Keyna Cory, Rick McAllister, Rep. John Stargel, CFO Gallagher, Sen. Mike Haridopolos, John Sebree, and Steve Birtman.
I am joining state lawmakers and business groups in calling for the repeal of an onerous tax that would financially burden small and large businesses, their employees and customers, as well as hinder the state’s ability to recruit and retain new business to Florida.
Under current Florida law, the tax applies to “the transmission, conveyance, or routing” of voice, data, audio, video and cable services, through electronic, radio, satellite, cable, optical, microwave or other media. Experts say if the tax language is fully applied it could cost Florida businesses hundreds of millions, as much as 13 to 14 percent of the annual operating cost of all communications equipment covered by this provision of law.
Joining us at the press conference to highlight the potential costs to small and large businesses in Florida were Rick Kearney, Chair of ITFlorida, Inc., Rick McAllister from the Florida Retail Federation, John Sebree from the Florida Realtors Association, and Steve Birtman from the National Federation of Independent Business.
However, in 2000, state lawmakers revamped Florida’s telecommunications laws and changed the communications tax language to more broadly capture other types of communications equipment. The new law became effective in October 2001 but the tax imposed on substitute communications systems has not been enforced by the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) because of continuing uncertainty about how the law applies to a rapidly changing communications and business environment.
If enforced, a company operating a taxable substitute communication system would owe tax, penalty and interest back to 2001. Companies would owe tax based on their cost of operating substitute systems, including depreciation on equipment and salaries of staff who maintain and repair them. The tax would not apply to the initial purchase of the equipment.
In roundtable meetings that I held recently with small business leaders across the state, alarm was expressed about the Substitute Communications Systems tax. No other state in the country has this tax. It is a ticking time bomb for Florida’s businesses and we need to get it off the books. Just the threat of it puts Florida at a disadvantage in a highly competitive national and worldwide business environment.
Gadsden, Florida's fifth county, was formed in 1823. It once ran from Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Suwannee River to the Apalachicola River. Quincy, the county seat, was incorporated in 1828. The courthouse, above, was built in 1912.
GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES FIRST ROUND OF WINNERS IN ESSAY CONTEST PROMOTING FINANCIAL LITERACY AMONG TEENS
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher proudly announced the names of six students who were the top picks in an essay contest aimed at encouraging financial literacy among middle and high school students. Gallagher presented checks to three of the students at their schools in both Orlando and Tampa.
From left to right: Hector Beauchamp, Felix Marquez, Lee Pease, Tracey Gilbert, Germaine Green, Terence Phillips, Sharette Streden, Carolyn Martin and Bob Lotane.
From left to right, back row: Hector Beauchamp, Gerald Justice, Donald Lott, John Kuhla, Sheryle Birdsong, Germaine Green and Rafael Blumberg. Front row: Ray Reynolds, Terence Phillips and Sharette Streden.
STATE WRAPS UP WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMPLIANCE SWEEP
CFO GALLAGHER APPLAUDS SEN. WEBSTER, REP. STARGEL FOR PROMOTING NURSING HOME SPRINKLER SYSTEMS
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher applauded the passage of legislation, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Webster and Rep. John Stargel, that would require all of the state’s nursing homes to have automated fire sprinkler systems by 2009.
GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES STATE AUTHORIZATION OF DISCOUNT MEDICAL PLANS NOW REQUIRED
Urges Consumers to Verify Organization and Agent Authorization
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher urged Floridians interested in signing up for a medical discount card plan to verify it is licensed to do business in the state. Legislation passed last year requires companies selling plans in Florida be licensed as of March 31, as well as the agents selling the plans must be disclosed.
“This is an industry where the potential for rampant fraud was great. Too many Floridians were being ripped off by unscrupulous operators, and many were made to think they were buying health insurance when in fact they were signing up for discounts on medical services or prescriptions,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “Consumers who are presently paying for a discount medical plan or are considering signing up for one need to Verify Before You Buy.” CONTINUED
LOUISIANA CONTRACTOR CHARGED WITH FAILING TO HAVE WORKERS’ COMP FOR OUT-OF-STATE WORKERS
A Louisiana contractor is facing felony charges for failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for workers he brought into the state to rebuild hurricane-damaged roofs in Central Florida.
“When workers show up to perform a job, they deserve to be protected in case they get injured,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the department. “Employers who don’t protect their workers will be held accountable.”