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The Florida Senate

2016 Florida Statutes

Harness horse taxes; abandoned interest in a permit for nonpayment of taxes.
F.S. 550.09512
550.09512 Harness horse taxes; abandoned interest in a permit for nonpayment of taxes.
(1) Pari-mutuel wagering at harness horse racetracks in this state is an important business enterprise, and taxes derived therefrom constitute a part of the tax structure which funds operation of the state. Harness horse permitholders should pay their fair share of these taxes to the state. This business interest should not be taxed to such an extent as to cause any racetrack which is operated under sound business principles to be forced out of business. Due to the need to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, the gaming laws of the state provide for the harness horse industry to be highly regulated and taxed. The state recognizes that there exist identifiable differences between harness horse permitholders based upon their ability to operate under such regulation and tax system.
(2)(a) The tax on handle for live harness horse performances is 0.5 percent of handle per performance.
(b) For purposes of this section, the term “handle” shall have the same meaning as in s. 550.0951, and shall not include handle from intertrack wagering.
(3)(a) The permit of a harness horse permitholder who does not pay tax on handle for live harness horse performances for a full schedule of live races during any 2 consecutive state fiscal years shall be void and shall escheat to and become the property of the state unless such failure to operate and pay tax on handle was the direct result of fire, strike, war, or other disaster or event beyond the ability of the permitholder to control. Financial hardship to the permitholder shall not, in and of itself, constitute just cause for failure to operate and pay tax on handle.
(b) In order to maximize the tax revenues to the state, the division shall reissue an escheated harness horse permit to a qualified applicant pursuant to the provisions of this chapter as for the issuance of an initial permit. However, the provisions of this chapter relating to referendum requirements for a pari-mutuel permit shall not apply to the reissuance of an escheated harness horse permit. As specified in the application and upon approval by the division of an application for the permit, the new permitholder shall be authorized to operate a harness horse facility anywhere in the same county in which the escheated permit was authorized to be operated, notwithstanding the provisions of s. 550.054(2) relating to mileage limitations.
(4) In the event that a court of competent jurisdiction determines any of the provisions of this section to be unconstitutional, it is the intent of the Legislature that the provisions contained in this section shall be null and void and that the provisions of s. 550.0951 shall apply to all harness horse permitholders beginning on the date of such judicial determination. To this end, the Legislature declares that it would not have enacted any of the provisions of this section individually and, to that end, expressly finds them not to be severable.
History.s. 1, ch. 93-288; s. 2, ch. 98-217; s. 15, ch. 2000-354.