Florida Senate - 2011                                    SB 1378
       By Senator Latvala
       16-01553A-11                                          20111378__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to economic development; creating the
    3         “Small Business Jobs Creation Act”; amending s.
    4         288.061, F.S.; reducing the time period within which
    5         Enterprise Florida, Inc., and the Office of Tourism,
    6         Trade, and Economic Development must review and
    7         evaluate applications for state economic development
    8         incentives; amending s. 288.106, F.S.; reducing the
    9         time period within which a local government must adopt
   10         a resolution to provide financial support to a
   11         business applying to participate in the tax refund
   12         program for qualified target industry businesses;
   13         reducing the time period within which a business
   14         applying to participate in the tax refund program for
   15         qualified target industry must sign an agreement with
   16         the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic
   17         Development; authorizing an extension of time for a
   18         business to sign an agreement under certain
   19         circumstances; requiring the Office of Tourism, Trade,
   20         and Economic Development to return the unused portion
   21         of local financial support within a specified time
   22         period if a business fails to timely sign an agreement
   23         or no longer participates in the tax refund program;
   24         waiving the requirements for certain businesses to pay
   25         a minimum average wage during the first year of an
   26         agreement under the tax refund program for qualified
   27         target industry businesses; amending s. 400.462, F.S.;
   28         redefining the term “remuneration” as used in the Home
   29         Health Services Act to exclude certain items having a
   30         value less than a specified threshold amount;
   31         providing an effective date.
   33         WHEREAS, Florida has more than 2 million small businesses
   34  and more than 1 million self-employed persons, according to a
   35  2009 report produced by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s
   36  Office of Advocacy, and
   37         WHEREAS, Florida’s small businesses comprise more than 90
   38  percent of the total number of businesses in Florida and employ
   39  at least 44 percent of private-sector employees, and
   40         WHEREAS, from 2003 until 2006, the greatest number of jobs
   41  attributable to small businesses were created by companies
   42  having fewer than five employees, according to the U.S. Small
   43  Business Administration, and
   44         WHEREAS, the Great Recession of 2009-2010 afflicted even
   45  more agile small businesses in Florida and nationwide with
   46  losses of jobs, contracts, and capital, and
   47         WHEREAS, Florida’s unemployment rate is at 12 percent,
   48  equating to 1.1 million Floridians out of work, many of whom are
   49  former employees of a small business, and
   50         WHEREAS, in surveys and at public forums provided by the
   51  Florida Office of Small Business Advocate in 2010, small
   52  business owners revealed that their top three concerns were
   53  access to capital, the lack of small business incentives, and an
   54  unstable or less favorable climate for small businesses, and
   55         WHEREAS, Florida’s target industry sectors, including all
   56  types of manufacturing, offer the promise of jobs that pay
   57  higher wages and more stable employment, NOW, THEREFORE,
   59  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   61         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Small Business
   62  Jobs Creation Act.”
   63         Section 2. Section 288.061, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   64  read:
   65         288.061 Economic development incentive application
   66  process.—
   67         (1) Within 4 10 business days after receiving a submitted
   68  economic development incentive application, Enterprise Florida,
   69  Inc., shall review the application and inform the applicant
   70  business whether or not its application is complete. Within 10
   71  business days after the application is deemed complete,
   72  Enterprise Florida, Inc., shall evaluate the application and
   73  recommend approval or disapproval of the application to the
   74  director of the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic
   75  Development. In recommending an applicant business for approval,
   76  Enterprise Florida, Inc., shall include in its evaluation a
   77  recommended grant award amount and a review of the applicant’s
   78  ability to meet specific program criteria.
   79         (2) Within 3 10 calendar days after the Office of Tourism,
   80  Trade, and Economic Development receives the evaluation and
   81  recommendation from Enterprise Florida, Inc., the office shall
   82  notify Enterprise Florida, Inc., whether or not the application
   83  is reviewable. Within 14 22 calendar days after the office
   84  receives the recommendation from Enterprise Florida, Inc., the
   85  director of the office shall review the application and issue a
   86  letter of certification to the applicant that approves or
   87  disapproves an applicant business and includes a justification
   88  of that decision, unless the business requests an extension of
   89  that time. The final order shall specify the total amount of the
   90  award, the performance conditions that must be met to obtain the
   91  award, and the schedule for payment.
   92         Section 3. Subsection (5) of section 288.106, Florida
   93  Statutes, is amended, present subsection (8) of that section is
   94  renumbered as subsection (9), and a new subsection (8) is added
   95  to that section, to read:
   96         288.106 Tax refund program for qualified target industry
   97  businesses.—
   98         (5) TAX REFUND AGREEMENT.—
   99         (a) Each qualified target industry business must enter into
  100  a written agreement with the office that specifies, at a
  101  minimum:
  102         1. The total number of full-time equivalent jobs in this
  103  state which that will be dedicated to the project, the average
  104  wage of those jobs, the definitions that will apply for
  105  measuring the achievement of these terms during the pendency of
  106  the agreement, and a time schedule or plan for when such jobs
  107  will be in place and active in this state.
  108         2. The maximum amount of tax refunds that the qualified
  109  target industry business is eligible to receive on the project
  110  and the maximum amount of a tax refund that the qualified target
  111  industry business is eligible to receive for each fiscal year,
  112  based on the job creation and maintenance schedule specified in
  113  subparagraph 1.
  114         3. That the office may review and verify the financial and
  115  personnel records of the qualified target industry business to
  116  ascertain whether that business is in compliance with this
  117  section.
  118         4. The date by which, in each fiscal year, the qualified
  119  target industry business may file a claim under subsection (6)
  120  to be considered to receive a tax refund in the following fiscal
  121  year.
  122         5. That local financial support will be annually available
  123  and will be paid to the account. The office may not enter into a
  124  written agreement with a qualified target industry business if
  125  the local financial support resolution is not passed by the
  126  local governing body within 45 90 days after the office has
  127  issued the letter of certification under subsection (4).
  128         6. That the office may conduct a review of the business to
  129  evaluate whether the business is continuing to contribute to the
  130  area’s or state’s economy.
  131         7. That in the event the business does not complete the
  132  agreement, the business will provide the office with the reasons
  133  the business was unable to complete the agreement.
  134         (b) Compliance with the terms and conditions of the
  135  agreement is a condition precedent for the receipt of a tax
  136  refund each year. The failure to comply with the terms and
  137  conditions of the tax refund agreement results in the loss of
  138  eligibility for receipt of all tax refunds previously authorized
  139  under this section and the revocation by the office of the
  140  certification of the business entity as a qualified target
  141  industry business, unless the business is eligible to receive
  142  and elects to accept a prorated refund under paragraph (6)(e) or
  143  the office grants the business an economic recovery extension.
  144         1. A qualified target industry business may submit a
  145  request to the office for an economic recovery extension. The
  146  request must provide quantitative evidence demonstrating how
  147  negative economic conditions in the business’s industry, the
  148  effects of a named hurricane or tropical storm, or specific acts
  149  of terrorism affecting the qualified target industry business
  150  have prevented the business from complying with the terms and
  151  conditions of its tax refund agreement.
  152         2. Upon receipt of a request under subparagraph 1., the
  153  office has 45 days to notify the requesting business, in
  154  writing, whether its extension has been granted or denied. In
  155  determining whether an extension should be granted, the office
  156  shall consider the extent to which negative economic conditions
  157  in the requesting business’s industry have occurred in the state
  158  or the effects of a named hurricane or tropical storm or
  159  specific acts of terrorism affecting the qualified target
  160  industry business have prevented the business from complying
  161  with the terms and conditions of its tax refund agreement. The
  162  office shall consider current employment statistics for this
  163  state by industry, including whether the business’s industry had
  164  substantial job loss during the prior year, when determining
  165  whether an extension shall be granted.
  166         3. As a condition for receiving a prorated refund under
  167  paragraph (6)(e) or an economic recovery extension under this
  168  paragraph, a qualified target industry business must agree to
  169  renegotiate its tax refund agreement with the office to, at a
  170  minimum, ensure that the terms of the agreement comply with
  171  current law and office procedures governing application for and
  172  award of tax refunds. Upon approving the award of a prorated
  173  refund or granting an economic recovery extension, the office
  174  shall renegotiate the tax refund agreement with the business as
  175  required by this subparagraph. When amending the agreement of a
  176  business receiving an economic recovery extension, the office
  177  may extend the duration of the agreement for a period not to
  178  exceed 2 years.
  179         4. A qualified target industry business may submit a
  180  request for an economic recovery extension to the office in lieu
  181  of any tax refund claim scheduled to be submitted after January
  182  1, 2009, but before July 1, 2012.
  183         5. A qualified target industry business that receives an
  184  economic recovery extension may not receive a tax refund for the
  185  period covered by the extension.
  186         (c) The agreement must be signed by the director and by an
  187  authorized officer of the qualified target industry business
  188  within 60 120 days after the issuance of the letter of
  189  certification under subsection (4), but not before passage and
  190  receipt of the resolution of local financial support. The office
  191  may grant an extension of this period for up to 60 days at the
  192  written request of the qualified target industry business if the
  193  business provides the office with compelling reasons for the
  194  delay. If an agreement is not signed by the business within 120
  195  days after the letter of certification is issued, the office
  196  must withdraw the certification. The target industry business
  197  may not reapply to participate in the program until the
  198  subsequent state fiscal year.
  199         (d) If an agreement is not signed by a target industry
  200  business within the time specified in paragraph (c), or if a
  201  business withdraws from the agreement or the office terminates
  202  the agreement for noncompliance under paragraph (b), the office
  203  must return the unused portion of the local financial support to
  204  the applicable local government within 6 months after those
  205  events.
  206         (e)(d) The agreement must contain the following legend,
  207  clearly printed on its face in bold type of not less than 10
  208  points in size: “This agreement is not a general obligation of
  209  the State of Florida, nor is it backed by the full faith and
  210  credit of the State of Florida. Payment of tax refunds is
  211  conditioned on and subject to specific annual appropriations by
  212  the Florida Legislature sufficient to pay amounts authorized in
  213  section 288.106, Florida Statutes.”
  215  annual wage requirement is waived for the first year of an
  216  agreement for any target industry business that enters into a
  217  tax refund agreement under subsection (5) between July 1, 2011,
  218  and June 30, 2012, and agrees to expand its operations within
  219  this state.
  220         Section 4. Subsection (27) of section 400.462, Florida
  221  Statutes, is amended to read:
  222         400.462 Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
  223         (27) “Remuneration” means any payment or other benefit made
  224  directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind.
  225  The term does not include items having an individual value of
  226  less than $10 such as plaques, certificates, trophies, or
  227  novelties that are intended solely for presentation or are
  228  customarily given away solely for promotional or advertising
  229  purposes or to recognize a person for an achievement.
  230         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.