Last week, the Florida House passed HB 1429 sponsored by Representative Bryan Avila (111 – Hialeah).
So far, the Senate has not moved their companion bill SB 2008 sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz (36 – Hialeah Gardens). However, there are several ways this bill could still become statute. The Senate could still consider their bill or take up the House bill. In addition, the House has included some of the provisions of HB 1429 in their Tax package – HB 7061 (see line 339) .
Two weeks remain in this year’s Legislative Session. This hazardous bill which establishes a precedent of raiding your county’s Tourist Development Tax revenue for non-marketing purposes could pass the Florida Legislature this Session.
In essence, these bills allow county governments to siphon funds collected through the TDT and CDT in your county intended for tourism promotion and use them for “flood mitigation.” Our opposition isn’t on this specific expanded use, rather ANY use aside from tourism promotion and marketing weakens your county and our state’s tourism marketing efforts. Tourist Development Taxes invested by Florida destinations result in billions of dollars in sales tax revenue generated by tourists affording a lower tax burden for Florida residents.
*** CALL TO ACTION ***
As our industry begins to rebound from the ravages of the pandemic, these bills imperil our ability to recover. Elected officials need to support our economic recovery, not disrupt it. Here is where we need your help!
Please contact your Senator. Tell them how the Tourist Development Tax in your county helps market your county destination and attractions. Share how you depend on the efforts of your Tourist Development Council and/or CVB to bring visitors to your county, increasing your county’s tax base and generating additional TDT funds. Ask them to stand firm in opposing any expansion of the uses of Tourist Development Taxes that is included in any legislation for the 2021 Session.
Thank you for all you do for the FAA and our collective industry. Keep advocating for the protection of Florida tourism!