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Bill Seeks To Cut Commercial Lease Tax

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - Describing the proposal as a "common-sense approach," a House Republican has filed a bill that would reduce a controversial sales tax on commercial leases.

The bill, filed by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen of Fort Myers, is similar to a measure filed last month by Senate Finance and Tax Chairwoman Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange.

The bills, which will be considered during the 2016 legislative session, would reduce the commercial-lease tax rate from 6 percent to 5 percent as of Jan. 1, 2017.

Some business groups have lobbied to eliminate the tax, which they argue is unique to Florida.

"It's an utter embarrassment that the state of Florida is the only state in the union to still have a sales tax on commercial real-estate leases,'' Fitzenhagen said in a prepared statement. "This tax is a burden to hundreds of thousands of small business owners across the state of Florida and a deterrent to those businesses who desire to bring jobs and financial prosperity to the state. That's why we need to pass this common-sense approach of slashing the archaic and unnecessary tax, piece by piece."

Rep. Larry Ahern has also filed a bill that would gradually increase exemptions before fully repealing the lease tax in January 2025.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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