For Immediate Release: August 14, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Decisive victory affirms validity of state preemption, and the City of Coral Gables is immediately prohibited from enforcing its invalid regulations

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association supporting Florida’s retail industry for more than 80 years, applauds today’s ruling by Miami’s 3rd District Court of Appeal. A victory for FRF and its members, the Court struck down the City of Coral Gables’ effort to circumvent state law and restrict use of all polystyrene products in the City.

“We commend the court as this decision reinforces the legislature’s ability and authority to govern these issues on a statewide basis,” said FRF President & CEO R. Scott Shalley. “This decision helps ensure Florida remains a business-friendly state by avoiding a patchwork of regulations by the more than 400 local governments. I also want to thank the Attorney General’s Office for their partnership and support in joining this successful lawsuit.”

“We look forward to a continued statewide dialogue on these important issues. Florida’s retailers have a vested interest in a healthy and sustainable Florida,” continued Shalley. “Our retailers spend millions of dollars every year on identifying ways to reduce our collective ecological footprint. We will continue to focus on solutions that are based on science and the importance of responsible consumer education and behavior.”

The City of Coral Gables, in a series of 2016 overreaching regulations, tried to prohibit the use of polystyrene products by city retailers altogether. The City went so far as passing a local ordinance declaring 500.90 F.S. “unconstitutional.” The Florida Retail Federation, its local City of Coral Gables member Super Progresso, Inc., and the Attorney General’s Office defended the validity of the state preemption statutes. State laws supported by the Florida Retail Federation have long preempted regulation of polystyrene packaging materials to the state legislature, and the 3rd District Court ruled all of Coral Gables’ local regulations in derogation of state law are invalid.

Accordingly, any local regulations of styrofoam or other packaging materials, such as plastic bags, adopted by other Florida municipalities after January 1, 2016, are invalid as they violate state laws. FRF members and local retailers are now protected from post-2016 regulation by aggressive municipalities or counties as a result of FRF’s advocacy efforts. FRF was represented by Dexter Lehtinen, Esq. and Claudio Riedi, Esq. of Lehtinen Schultz, PLLC, in Miami.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.

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For Immediate Release: July 24, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

The Sunshine State’s annual tax-free shopping holiday is extended to five days this year; Technology items up to $1,000 are included, and consumers of ALL ages can save money by taking advantage of buying thousands of eligible items

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retailers, is encouraging consumers and retailers to prepare for the upcoming Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. This popular annual “holiday” takes place August 2-6. During this time, consumers will not have to pay sales tax on thousands of eligible items such as clothes, shoes, school supplies and the return of technology items. The sales tax holiday also benefits Sunshine State retailers who see increased sales and as a result, create new jobs for hard working Florida families.

“We are excited to support this generous five-day tax free holiday. This annual event provides Floridians with much needed tax relief while providing a nice boost to our local retailers,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We commend Governor DeSantis and our legislative leaders for their support of Florida’s families.”

Serving as the state’s second busiest shopping “holiday” behind Black Friday, this year’s list of eligible items includes technology items up to $1,000 (not included in 2018), clothing, shoes and bags costing $60 or less and school supplies $15 or less. Nationally, the average family shopping for K-12 students is expected to be $696.70, the highest in survey history, according to FRF’s national partners at the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. Total spending nationally is expected to be slightly lower than last year, due to fewer families with students in grades K-12, totaling $26.2 billion, down from $27.5 billion.

Families with college students are expected to spend an average of $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017. With fewer respondents saying they are attending college, spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.

Total spending nationally for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s $82.8 billion largely because of the decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school.

According to the survey, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend the most on clothing ($236.90). In addition, shoppers also plan to spend:

  • $203.44 on electronics such as computers, calculators and phones
  • $135.96 on shoes
  • $117.49 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes.

K-12 families plan to do most of their shopping at department stores (53 percent), discount stores (50 percent), online (49 percent), clothing stores (45 percent) and office supply stores (31 percent).

Among K-12 shoppers, teens are expected to spend an average $36.71 of their own money, up from $30.88 10 years ago, while pre-teens should spend $26.40, up from $11.94 from 10 years ago.

College shoppers plan to spend the most on electronics ($234.69), followed by:

  • $148.54 on clothing and accessories
  • $120.19 on dorm and apartment furnishings
  • $98.72 on food items ($98.72)

They plan to do most of their shopping online (45 percent), followed by department stores (39 percent), discount stores (36 percent), college bookstores (32 percent) and office supply stores (29 percent).

“Consumers desire the ability to shop in different ways and at different times, and retailers have responded by providing innovative shopping options for them to choose from,” said Shalley. “We’re proud of the many technological advancements our retail members have made that ensure everyone’s shopping experience is fun, safe and easy.”

The back-to-school sales tax holiday has been one of the most popular shopping holidays among consumers and retailers and has been providing vital tax relief since it first began. The holiday has been recognized in 18 out of the 22 years since it first began in 1998. This year will mark the 10th year in a row it has taken place.

For more information and a list of qualifying items, please review the Department of Revenue's complete Tax Information Publication (TIP), as well as their Frequently Asked Questions. For your convenience, on their website, they've also provided digital downloads and social media posts for businesses interested in promoting and sharing information about the sales tax holiday.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Thanks to the efforts of our team at the Florida Retail Federation, the 2019 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday was included in this year's state budget. It was passed by the Florida Legislature and recently signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. This sales tax holiday begins Friday, August 2, and runs through Tuesday, August 6.

During this period, qualifying items will be exempt from tax including:

  • certain school supplies selling for $15 or less;
  • clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less;
  • and computers and certain accessories selling for $1,000 or less, when purchased for noncommercial or personal use.

For more information and a list of qualifying items, please review the Department of Revenue's complete Tax Information Publication (TIP), as well as their Frequently Asked Questions. For your convenience, on their website, they've also provided digital downloads and social media posts for businesses interested in promoting and sharing information about the sales tax holiday.

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2019
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

From May 31-June 6, Floridians won’t have to pay sales tax on thousands of items to help them both during and after a disaster; Tarps, batteries, radios, and generators are some of the most popular supplies

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years of supporting Florida’s retail industry, reminds consumers that May 31-June 6 is the state’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. During this time period, shoppers will not have to pay sales tax on eligible items and supplies that can be used to prepare for and recover from natural disasters that hit the Sunshine State. Hurricane season starts June 1.

“With hurricane season here, this Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday comes at a great time by drawing attention to the need to be prepared for a storm and providing Florida families with millions in needed tax relief,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “I want to thank Governor DeSantis for including this holiday is his original budget and our legislative leaders for their hard work this past session to ensure it was funded.”

The Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 31 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 6. During the holiday, sales tax will not be collected on the following popular items (for a complete listing of these items and other information, please click here):

  • A portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less.
  • A portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or Weatherband radio selling for $50 or less.
  • A tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less.
  • A ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less.
  • A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less.
  • A package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less.
  • A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less.
  • A portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less.
  • Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.

Additional information regarding the 2019 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, including a list of qualifying items, promotional materials and FAQs, has been posted to the Department of Revenue’s website.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.

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