For Immediate Release: May 8, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, FL – As the 2017 Legislative Session comes to a close, three days later than expected, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is celebrating several major accomplishments for retailers including the passage of a reduction in the business rent tax and 3-day sales tax holidays for back to school and disaster preparedness. FRF also successfully opposed several proposals which would have been harmful to the retail industry, such as allowing prejudgment interest on personal injury awards and weakening criminal penalties on the backs of retailers. We also had major wins for the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (FPMA) and our Beauty Industry Council.
“I am extremely proud of the way our retailers, stakeholders, and association staff worked with the Legislature to accomplish so many of our goals this year,” said FRF’s President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. In all, FRF actively advocated for or against more than 40 pieces of legislation and numerous budget issues. “We continue to prove that our industry remains strong and continues to be a major economic contributor--leading in job growth and many other economic indicators,” added Shalley.
In general business, FRF was successful in opposing burdensome regulations from being passed on to retailers, such as a minimum wage requirement, a measure to increase the number of parking spaces at certain retail establishments, and a measure that would interfere with the relationship between a franchisee and franchisor. FRF also worked to oppose a measure that would allow a utility company to pursue fracking for natural gas in other states and pass 100% of the costs along to consumers. Additionally, FRF was successful in advocating for the passage of a bill that provides greater legal protections to businesses who are subject to ADA lawsuits.
FRF also saw major legislative accomplishments in the areas of identity theft prevention with the approval of a measure to enhance penalties for committing “skimmer” fraud. FRF also played a key role in defeating a measure to weaken criminal penalties for theft. Additionally, a measure to prevent EBT card purchases for candy and soft drinks was defeated due to FRF’s strong opposition. “All of our retailers--from general business, pharmacy, small grocers, and the FPMA-- will benefit from our collective advocacy efforts this session. We look forward to continuing our work, and we are already beginning to gear up for next year,” concluded CEO Shalley.
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.