2021 Legislative Priorities

Tourist Development Tax (TDT)

  • In 1977, the Florida Legislature passed the "Tourist Development Tax" (F.S. 125.0104) at the request of Florida lodging executives. The purpose of the tax was to create dedicated revenue for tourism promotion and investment.
  • Now more than ever, CFHLA strongly advocates for preserving the integrity of this "bed tax" so that it is utilized for tourism-promotion purposes only. CFHLA strongly opposes any efforts to expand the allowable uses beyound tourism promotion including public facility projects such as transportation, sewage, etc. 

VISIT FLORIDA Funding

  • CFHLA supports the public-private business model for VISIT FLORIDA and will continue to recommend a long-term continuation of its enabling statute. 
  • CFHLA opposes any efforts to replace VISIT FLORIDA funding from the state budget with County-level TDT revenues. Local TDT revenues are committed to vital local projects and organizations that generate visitation - providing local economic development and job creation. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida's tourism industry must ensure significant recovery of travel in 2021 to realize revenue generation comparable to previous years such as 2018 when the State's Tourism industry employed more than 1.4 million Floridians.

Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund

  • CFHLA believes the Florida Legislature should utilize the Sadowski Fund only for its intended purpose to develop quality affordable housing for the constituents of Florida struggling to find adequate living arrangements. CFHLA supports measures to minimize or remove the ability to diverge funds to the general budget. CFHLA will also support local initiatives to incentivize the development of affordable housing through the use, but not limited to, minimized impact fees and tax incentives. 

Shared Lodging Platforms

  • CFHLA believes all vacation rental "shared lodging" operators should register as businesses with the State Department of Revenue, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and with their county Tax Collector. CFHLA supports initatives to ensure "shared lodging" businesses also practice the same safety standards as traditional lodging to protect visitors. These standards include, but are not limited to; human trafficking awareness and prevention, regular health inspections, and COVID-19 cleaning procedures.
  • CFHLA opposes any legislative efforts that would prevent local governments from regulating unregistered and "illegal" vacation rental properties listed on "shared lodging" platforms.

Gambling

  • CFHLA remains opposed to the development of destination resort casinos or the expansion of gambling in the region as the vitality of Central Florida's economy depends on its reputation as a "Family Friendly" destination. Additionally, CFHLA will monitor any activity regarding Sports Betting in the State of Florida and future negotiations of the Seminole Gaming Compact.

COVID-19 Liability Protections

  • The unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 virus continues to wreak havoc on businesses across the state and the country. CFHLA supports efforts to continue protecting businesses from frivolous claims of general COVID-19 exposure that present financial harm to businesses. These protections may include but are not limited to a shortened statute of limitations and heightened culpability of standards.

Minimum Wage

  • CFHLA recognizes the passage of a gradual increase to a $15 minimum wage by the majority of voters across the State of Florida and the additional burden it may place on business owners.
  • As a result, CFHLA supports the opportunity for tax credits or other benefits to be awarded to businesses for mitigation of additional costs related to purchasing PPE for employees and re-hiring employees as the economy continues its recovery.

Property Tax Relief

  • The tourism industry recognizes Florida's property tax appraisal and collection schedule has created a situation where lodging properties facing significant revenue shortages due to COVID-19 will be appraised at a much higher value and owe taxes that no longer reflect their current value.
  • CFHLA advocates for providing extended authority to Property Tax appraisers and collectors to allow for flexible repayment options including, but not limited to, deferment or partial abatement as the Tourism Industry and related businesses continue to recover.

Cooperative Advertising

  • CFHLA supports the modernization of the Florida Beverage Code to include the expansion of cooperative advertising of alcoholic beverages and to continue allowing businesses the flexibility to serve alcoholic beverages to customers for both dine-in and to-go business.
  • CFHLA believes current Beverage Law prevents small businesses from participating in fair competiation as a result of restrictions preventing smaller properties from obtaining liquor licenses and attracting diversified business. Considering the economic impacts of COVID-19, CFHLA believes it is more important than ever to provide small businesses with the same tools as larger businesses to stay open.

Recreational Marijuana/CBD

  • CFHLA will continue to monitor the expansion of Recreational Marijuana/CBD and remains dedicated to protecting Florida's "Family Friendly" brand.

Public Notices

  • CFHLA supports the elimination of fees required to submit legal notices in local newspaper publications. CFHLA believes using alternative methods of providing legal notice including, but not limited to the development of a statewide database, would be beneficial for businesses and the State of Florida. 

Water Quality

  • CFHLA will monitor any legislation relating to water quality programs and infrastructure in the State to ensure the preservation of clean water in State waterways and beaches and to ensure the prevention of red-tide and algae blooms throughout the State.

Dedicated Transportation Funding (Regional)

  • CFHLA strongly supports any efforts to establish a new tax revenue, separate from the Tourist Development Tax, to fund regional public transportation initiatives and infrastructure.