Members from the five NAIOP chapters in Florida traveled to Tallahassee last week for a joint NAIOP-ICSC legislative advocacy Day at the State Capitol. The two-day event provided an important opportunity for attendees to meet with their state lawmakers and government officials and advance the interests of the commercial real estate industry.
Commercial real estate is a powerful contributor to the state and local economies in Florida. According to this year’s Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate published by NAIOP’s Research Foundation, commercial real estate development contributed $39.5 billion to the state economy, generated $19.9 billion in wages and salaries, and created and supported 312,963 jobs across Florida in 2022. These contributions reflect the important role of NAIOP members and of commercial real estate development in addressing the state’s continued economic and population growth.
As the only state to apply a business rent tax, the reduction and eventual elimination of the tax is a top legislative priority for NAIOP of Florida. Previous advocacy efforts by NAIOP and other organizations resulted in the enactment of legislation that significantly reduces the tax from 5.5% to 2%. The reduction is triggered when the state’s unemployment tax fund for business is fortified with an additional $4 billion from internet sales tax collections and other sources. NAIOP of Florida remains committed to holding lawmakers to this reduction without delay as part of their advocacy strategy for the tax’s eventual elimination as the state experiences record-setting surpluses.
Other legislative priorities for NAIOP of Florida include:
- Extension of the deadline for implementation of Florida Fire Prevention Code (s. 63302) that requires owners of commercial properties to install radio strength systems in order for first responders to maintain communications;
- Passage of SB 512 and its companion bill HB 89, which prohibit local enforcement entities from making substantive changes to an approved permit unless tied to a building or fire code;
- Preempt state regulation for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations; and
- Inclusion of a NAIOP representative on the Florida Building Commission.
Attendees at the Day at the State Capitol also heard from a number of state officials. Commerce Secretary and Enterprise Florida President Laura Dibella outlined efforts to advance the state as a leader for businesses of all sizes to locate, develop, and grow. Melanie Griffin, secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, discussed her efforts to promote commercial development through a more efficient, transparent, and accountable department. Other state officials included Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Meredith Ivey and Public Service Commissioner Andrey Fay, who spoke of their efforts to advance sustainable economic development.
The collective advocacy of the five chapters is making a difference and has contributed to successful policy outcomes of importance to commercial real estate and development. Each of NAIOP’s chapter – Central, Northeast, Northwest, South Florida, and Tampa Bay – have played a role in achieving these successes. More work is needed as policymakers continue to consider legislative initiatives to address the state’s current and future growth.
NAIOP chapters across the country are engaged in the legislative and lawmaking process. The Colorado and Nevada chapters are also holding legislative events this month to advance the interest of commercial real estate within their respective states. These legislative events underscore the importance of NAIOP and its members remaining engaged at every level of government to ensure that the interests of commercial real estate are fully considered.