FRF thanks Representative Jason Fischer who filed legislation in the Florida House of Representatives to establish a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday. Running from May 30, 2017 through June 5, 2017, this holiday will allow Floridians to purchase items such as flashlights, batteries, weather radios, generators and other essential items tax free.
Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Randy Miller stated, “After a decade without hurricanes, Florida got hit hard last year, and this legislation will help ensure Floridians protect themselves and their families following a disaster, while also allowing them to experience much needed tax relief. I want to thank Representative Fischer for sponsoring this important bill and recognizing the importance of having a disaster plan in place, which includes purchasing critical supplies like batteries, flashlights, radios and generators which will all be tax free.”
“Last fall, Hurricane Matthew crawled up the coast of Florida, hitting Northeast Florida particularly hard. Some of my constituents lost power for almost a full week following the storm. This bill relieves some of the financial burden of preparing for a natural disaster. I am proud to introduce legislation that is expected to save consumers $7 million,” stated Representative Fischer. “With millions of individuals moving to our great state every year, I want to ensure that natural disaster preparedness is at the forefront of people’s minds as dangerous weather begins to develop. This legislation encourages being prepared in advance, which could mean the difference between life and death,” stated Representative Fischer.
FRF looks forward to working with Representative Fischer and our legislative leaders in both chambers to ensure Florida retailers and Florida families experience the benefits that come with this tax-free holiday.
Today, Governor Rick Scott announced during the “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Tax Cut Tour that he is proposing $618 million in tax cuts to help Florida families and small businesses, and ensure taxes are cut for Florida’s future generations. These tax cuts will encourage job creators to add more jobs and build opportunities now and in the future.
"Governor Scott's 'Fighting for Florida's Future' tax package includes a number of cuts which will significantly support Florida's retailers, including a reduction in the business rent tax, cutting the business tax and including an expanded back-to-school sales tax holiday among others," said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. "FRF is excited about what the Governor's tax cut package will mean for growing Sunshine State businesses, creating new jobs for Florida families and ensuring our state remains competitive."
Governor Scott said, “While Florida’s economy has made great strides over the past six years, we have to continue to fight for Florida’s future and ensure our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to succeed in our great state. We know one of the best ways to do that is to keep cutting taxes, and even though we have already cut more than $6.5 billion in taxes, we can do more. That is why I am fighting for Florida families and our future generations by recommending to cut taxes by $618 million this year.
“When we cut taxes, it helps businesses create jobs – jobs that ultimately help the poorest, most disadvantaged families in our state. As I travel the state, I have been humbled by the stories of single parents, young students, new citizens and countless other Floridians who have shared with me how much of a difference a job has made in their life and in the lives of their families. These incredible stories are why we are fighting to secure a bright future for Florida, and cutting taxes will help make our state the top location for job creators to invest in for generations to come. I made a promise to keep fighting for jobs until my very last day as Governor, and I ask the Legislature to join me in fighting for the future of our students, our small businesses, our veterans and our families by cutting $618 million in taxes this year.”
Governor Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tax cut package includes:
For Immediate Release: January 3, 2017
Florida’s leading advocate for the state’s 270,000 retail businesses heads into its eighth decade as strong, as diverse and as influential as it’s ever been; yearlong celebration planned
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier retail trade organization, announces a yearlong celebration of its 80th anniversary as the most impactful and influential retail advocacy group in Florida. FRF was founded in 1937 as the Florida Chain Store Association and 20 years later was renamed the Florida Retail Federation, where it’s remained as The Voice of Florida Retailing. In honor of the anniversary, FRF will feature key moments from the organization’s history on its website throughout the year, as well as incorporate an 80th anniversary logo in all of its hard copy collateral and online presence and celebrate the milestone during its many events in 2017.
“To see the growth and progress of FRF, from its humble beginnings in 1937 to the influential advocacy and support organization it’s become today, is a testament to the passion and determination of all of the employees and board members who played a part during the past 80 years,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “As we enter our eighth decade of successfully promoting and growing our industry and our members’ businesses, it’s important we reflect back and appreciate not only where the FRF started from, but to stay true to those same goals and ideals which laid the foundation for the organization.”
FRF initially started out as the Florida Chain Store Association, Inc., which was founded in 1937 as a counter to the wave of anti-business legislation that swept through Florida, culminating in a 1935 law that created one of the most discriminatory business taxes in the nation. Initially, the organization included just the largest chain store businesses in the state, but in 1941, the association expanded to include smaller chain stores. In 1947, the headquarters moved to Jacksonville, where most members were located.
By 1956, recognizing that all retailers shared common goals and facing competition from the similarly named “Florida State Retailers Association,” associate membership was extended to independently owned stores. In 1957, the Florida Chain Store Council reorganized as a division of the Florida State Chamber of Commerce, and by the end of the year its board approved a new name – Florida Retail Federation. On October 13, 1959, FRF was re-chartered as an independent non-profit organization. E. Colin Lindsey of Belk-Lindsey Stores, Inc., in Tampa, was elected the first president of the independent Florida Retail Federation on January 8, 1960. The group’s purpose, according to its charter, was to foster a closer relationship between the public and Florida’s retail merchants by conducting service and public relations programs, to provide non-partisan representation to all retailers – independent, chain, small and large – and to cooperate with all branches of the state and federal governments so that retailers could better serve the public.
The Florida Retail Federation Self Insurers Workers’ Compensation Fund was established on January 1, 1979. Administered by Summit in Lakeland, the fund sparked a relationship that proved significant in FRF’s history and grew into one of the foremost services to Florida retailers. In 1980, the decision was made to move the association headquarters to Tallahassee which office space secured at historic Gallie’s Hall, which was renovated and ready for occupancy in February 1982.
In 1996, a new CEO helped position FRF as a more proactive organization in legislative advocacy, a philosophy maintained today. FRF has continued to expand its member services, increasing revenue and further strengthening the position of FRF as a top-tier business advocacy organization. It’s also since launched a number of benefits and services programs that help retailers and businesses including OrdinanceWatch™, Florida BankCard Solutions, MEMBERS Comp Dividend Program, FRF Health Insurance Exchange and the Employers Health Network.
For Immediate Release: December 14, 2016
Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce file suit stating city ordinance is in violation of state statute and will significantly burden businesses
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Three leading Florida business organizations filed suit today against the City of Miami Beach regarding a recently passed city ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $10.31/hour starting January 1, 2018, and increase it $1.00/year until it reaches $13.31 in 2021. The Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and Florida Chamber of Commerce filed the suit which states that the ordinance disregards a state statute which establishes the State of Florida will determine one consistent minimum wage for the entire state. This state statute allows for local government entities to adopt ordinances to exceed this wage for those working or contracting with the local government. The suit was filed by Charles Caulkins of the South Florida law firm Fisher Philips LLC.
“We don’t support any mandates in which local governments are dictating what private businesses should be paying their employees, as it should be up to each individual employer to determine what is fair and also helps their business remain competitive,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “This increase will certainly lead to lost jobs, as small businesses, which make up 80 percent of businesses in Florida, only have a finite amount of money to spend on salaries, and being forced to pay certain employees more, means cutting the salaries or jobs of others, or potentially closing the business altogether.”
“The Florida Chamber of Commerce is focused on creating good jobs and opportunity for everyone and, unfortunately, a patchwork of government wage regulations and mandates hurts job seekers, small businesses, and Florida," said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“This unconstitutional mandate sets a dangerous precedent, threatens the strength of Florida’s businesses and increases costs to consumers. This is a critical issue that must be addressed to protect all of Florida’s employers, including the $89.1 billion hospitality industry which employs 1.2 million dedicated workers in the Sunshine State. The government shouldn’t dictate the relationship between an employer and employee. If this ordinance is upheld it could have severe, unintended consequences for employers and employees across the Sunshine State, and across the nation,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
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.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA CHAMBER
Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FLChamber.com for more information. 136 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT & LODGING ASSOCIATION
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $89.1 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.2 million employees - making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 10-12, 2017 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.
For Immediate Release: December 5, 2016
Florida’s leading retail advocacy organization highlights those issues and topics important to retailers and which will be the focus in the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session
TALLAHASSEE, FL – With the Florida House of Representatives in committee weeks this week and the Senate set to follow suit next week, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced its 2017 Legislative Agenda in preparation for the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session in March. The agenda highlights those issues which are important to the success of retailers and Florida’s business community and which FRF will be focused on.
Visa has announced a three-year postponement of the liability shift date for self-serve gas pumps to be certified to process smart chip card transactions. Instead of the original date of Oct. 1, 2017, it is now Oct. 1, 2020, according to an announcement on Visa's website.
The company acknowledged that "five years after announcing our liability shift, there are still issues with a sufficient supply of regulatory-compliant EMV [Europay MasterCard Visa-standard] hardware and software to enable most upgrades by 2017." Stating that "fraud rates at fuel pumps are relatively low -- approximately 1.3 percent of total U.S. payment fraud," the company explained that it is moving the liability shift date and that, "We believe we have reached a balanced conclusion for providing needed, additional time to merchants while continuing to push forward with the migration to chip." Visa said it will monitor payment trends at the pump to help gas-station operators and card-issuing banks prevent fraud during the interim period.
The decision to delay the deadline is the second time in a month that Visa has announced moves to appease relationships with merchants after years of tension between the two groups fueled by arguments over fees. Last week, the firm said t would revise its rules for using the new chip technology for debit-card transactions after some retailers claimed the requirements inhibited competition.
For Immediate Release: November 15, 2015
With Florida’s economy continuing to strengthen and more residents and tourists feeling good about their own economic situation and willing to spend money, the holiday shopping season looks bright for retailers
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today that the upcoming shopping season looks very bright for Florida’s retailers, thanks to the strength of the state’s economy and increased confidence among consumers. FRF is predicting a 4 percent increase in sales for Sunshine State retailers, which is expected to outpace the national average of between 3.3-3.5 percent.
“Florida’s economy remains strong, unemployment is at a 9-year low, housing remains hot and 100 million extra shoppers in the form of tourists are expected again, which should lead to a successful holiday shopping season for our 270,000 retailers statewide,” said President/CEO Randy Miller. “Smart and savvy retailers will seize on this positive momentum by incorporating discounts, sales and other perks to stand out from the crowd this season.”
Back in September, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an emergency rule that would require businesses responsible for instances of pollution to notify the state and the public about those instances on an expedited timeline. Under the emergency rule, notification is required to the DEP and to local government officials and the media.
DEP is now in the process of passing a final rule to address pollution notification. Below is the revised proposed rule:
Positive changes have been made to the rule. The rule is now more clear about what amounts of pollutants trigger the notification requirements. But the rule still raises concerns about the cost to business and the potential for ineffective and inaccurate information being shared with the public. We believe the DEP should be the central clearinghouse for the notification of pollution.
We are submitting our comments to the DEP to encourage further changes to the rule. Please share this rule within your companies and let us know what concerns you have. If you have real-life examples regarding how this could negatively impact your business, please share those with us so that we can educate the DEP about the impact of this rule.
Comments will only be received by the state agency up until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, November 9, so please get back with us as soon as you are able. We appreciate your input.