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       Florida Senate - 2010                      CS for CS for SB 1856
       
       
       
       By the Committees on Finance and Tax; Commerce; and Commerce
       
       
       
       
       593-04318-10                                          20101856c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the qualified target industry tax
    3         refund program; amending s. 288.106, F.S.; providing
    4         legislative findings and declarations for the tax
    5         refund program for qualified target industry
    6         businesses; revising the definitions of terms
    7         applicable to the program; establishing a schedule for
    8         the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development
    9         to review and revise the list of target industries and
   10         submit a report to the Governor and Legislature;
   11         revising the criteria for the Office of Tourism,
   12         Trade, and Economic Development and Enterprise
   13         Florida, Inc., to use in identifying target industry
   14         businesses; conforming cross-references to changes
   15         made by the act; requiring the Office of Tourism,
   16         Trade, and Economic Development to consider the
   17         state’s return on investment in evaluating applicants
   18         for the tax refund program; requiring the Office of
   19         Economic and Demographic Research to submit reports to
   20         the Legislature evaluating the calculation of the
   21         state’s return on investment for the program;
   22         requiring that additional provisions be included in
   23         tax refund agreements; redesignating the economic
   24         stimulus exemption as the “economic recovery
   25         extension”; extending the date by which a qualified
   26         target industry business may request an economic
   27         recovery extension; authorizing the Office of Tourism,
   28         Trade, and Economic Development to waive the
   29         requirement for a business to annually provide proof
   30         of taxes paid if the business provides proof that it
   31         has paid certain taxes in amounts at least equal to
   32         the total amount of refunds for which the business is
   33         eligible; requiring the Office of Tourism, Trade, and
   34         Economic Development to conduct a review of certain
   35         qualified target industry businesses that have failed
   36         to complete their tax refund agreements and submit a
   37         report of its findings and recommendations to the
   38         Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker
   39         of the House of Representatives; extending the date by
   40         which businesses may apply to participate in the tax
   41         refund program for qualified target industry
   42         businesses; amending ss. 288.107 and 290.00677, F.S.;
   43         conforming cross-references to changes made by the
   44         act; providing an effective date.
   45  
   46  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   47  
   48         Section 1. Section 288.106, Florida Statutes, is amended,
   49  and subsection (2) of that section is reordered, to read:
   50         288.106 Tax refund program for qualified target industry
   51  businesses.—
   52         (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS.—The Legislature
   53  finds that retaining and expanding existing businesses in
   54  Florida, encouraging the creation of new businesses in Florida,
   55  attracting new businesses from out of state, and generally
   56  providing conditions favorable for the growth of target
   57  industries creates high-quality, high-wage employment
   58  opportunities for the residents of this state and strengthens
   59  Florida’s economic foundation. The Legislature also finds that
   60  incentives that are narrowly focused in application and scope
   61  tend to be more effective at achieving the state’s economic
   62  development goals. Further, the Legislature finds that higher
   63  wage jobs reduce the state’s share of hidden costs such as
   64  public assistance and subsidized health care associated with
   65  low-wage jobs. Therefore, the Legislature declares that it is
   66  the policy of this state to encourage the growth of higher-wage
   67  jobs and a diverse economic base by providing state tax refunds
   68  to qualified target industry businesses that originate or expand
   69  in this state or that relocate to this state.
   70         (2)(1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section:
   71         (a) “Account” means the Economic Development Incentives
   72  Account within the Economic Development Trust Fund established
   73  under s. 288.095.
   74         (c)(b) “Average private sector wage in the area” means the
   75  statewide private sector average wage or the average of all
   76  private sector wages and salaries in the county or in the
   77  standard metropolitan area in which the business is located.
   78         (d)(c) “Business” means an employing unit, as defined in s.
   79  443.036, which is registered for unemployment compensation
   80  purposes with the state agency providing unemployment tax
   81  collection services under contract with the Agency for Workforce
   82  Innovation through an interagency agreement pursuant to s.
   83  443.1316, or a subcategory or division of an employing unit
   84  which is accepted by the state agency providing unemployment tax
   85  collection services as a reporting unit.
   86         (e)(d) “Corporate headquarters business” means an
   87  international, national, or regional headquarters office of a
   88  multinational or multistate business enterprise or national
   89  trade association, whether separate from or connected with other
   90  facilities used by such business.
   91         (n)(e) “Office” means the Office of Tourism, Trade, and
   92  Economic Development.
   93         (g)(f) “Enterprise zone” means an area designated as an
   94  enterprise zone pursuant to s. 290.0065.
   95         (h)(g) “Expansion of an existing business” means the
   96  expansion of an existing Florida business by or through
   97  additions to real and personal property, resulting in a net
   98  increase in employment of not less than 10 percent at such
   99  business.
  100         (i)(h) “Fiscal year” means the fiscal year of the state.
  101         (j)(i) “Jobs” means full-time equivalent positions,
  102  including, not limited to, positions obtained from a temporary
  103  employment agency or employee leasing company or through a union
  104  agreement or co-employment under a professional employer
  105  organization agreement, which result as that term is consistent
  106  with terms used by the Agency for Workforce Innovation and the
  107  United States Department of Labor for purposes of unemployment
  108  compensation tax administration and employment estimation,
  109  resulting directly from a project in this state. The term does
  110  not include temporary construction jobs involved with the
  111  construction of facilities for the project or any jobs
  112  previously included in any application for tax refunds under s.
  113  288.1045 or this section.
  114         (k)(j) “Local financial support” means funding from local
  115  sources, public or private, which is paid to the Economic
  116  Development Trust Fund and which is equal to 20 percent of the
  117  annual tax refund for a qualified target industry business. A
  118  qualified target industry business may not provide, directly or
  119  indirectly, more than 5 percent of such funding in any fiscal
  120  year. The sources of such funding may not include, directly or
  121  indirectly, state funds appropriated from the General Revenue
  122  Fund or any state trust fund, excluding tax revenues shared with
  123  local governments pursuant to law.
  124         (l)(k) “Local financial support exemption option” means the
  125  option to exercise an exemption from the local financial support
  126  requirement available to any applicant whose project is located
  127  in a brownfield area or a rural community county with a
  128  population of 75,000 or fewer or a county with a population of
  129  125,000 or fewer which is contiguous to a county with a
  130  population of 75,000 or fewer. Any applicant that exercises this
  131  option is shall not be eligible for more than 80 percent of the
  132  total tax refunds allowed such applicant under this section.
  133         (m)(l) “New business” means a business that applies for the
  134  qualified target industry refund program before beginning
  135  operations which heretofore did not exist in this state, first
  136  beginning operations on a site located in this state and is a
  137  clearly separate legal entity from any other commercial or
  138  industrial operations owned by the same business.
  139         (o)(m) “Project” means the creation of a new business or
  140  expansion of an existing business.
  141         (f)(n) “Director” means the Director of the Office of
  142  Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development.
  143         (t)(o) “Target industry business” means a corporate
  144  headquarters business or any business that is engaged in one of
  145  the target industries identified pursuant to the following
  146  criteria developed by the office in consultation with Enterprise
  147  Florida, Inc.:
  148         1. Future growth.—Industry forecasts should indicate strong
  149  expectation for future growth in both employment and output,
  150  according to the most recent available data. Preference Special
  151  consideration should be given to businesses that export goods or
  152  services Florida’s growing access to international markets or to
  153  businesses that replace domestic and international replacing
  154  imports of goods or services.
  155         2. Stability.—The industry should not be subject to
  156  periodic layoffs, whether due to seasonality or sensitivity to
  157  volatile economic variables such as weather. The industry should
  158  also be relatively resistant to recession, so that the demand
  159  for products of this industry is not typically necessarily
  160  subject to decline during an economic downturn.
  161         3. High wage.—The industry should pay relatively high wages
  162  compared to statewide or area averages.
  163         4. Market and resource independent.—The location of
  164  industry businesses should not be dependent on Florida markets
  165  or resources as indicated by industry analysis, with the
  166  exception of businesses in the renewable-energy industry.
  167  Special consideration should be given to the development of
  168  strong industrial clusters which include defense and homeland
  169  security businesses.
  170         5. Industrial base diversification and strengthening.—The
  171  industry should contribute toward expanding or diversifying the
  172  state’s or area’s economic base, as indicated by analysis of
  173  employment and output shares compared to national and regional
  174  trends. Preference Special consideration should be given to
  175  industries that strengthen regional economies by adding value to
  176  basic products or building regional industrial clusters as
  177  indicated by industry analysis. Additionally, preference should
  178  be given to the development of strong industrial clusters that
  179  include defense and homeland security businesses.
  180         6. Economic benefits.—The industry is expected to should
  181  have strong positive impacts on or benefits to the state or and
  182  regional economies.
  183  
  184  The term does office, in consultation with Enterprise Florida,
  185  Inc., shall develop a list of such target industries annually
  186  and submit such list as part of the final agency legislative
  187  budget request submitted pursuant to s. 216.023(1). A target
  188  industry business may not include any business industry engaged
  189  in retail industry activities; any electrical utility company;
  190  any phosphate or other solid minerals severance, mining, or
  191  processing operation; any oil or gas exploration or production
  192  operation; or any business firm subject to regulation by the
  193  Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business
  194  and Professional Regulation. By January 1 of every third year,
  195  beginning January 1, 2011, the office, in consultation with
  196  Enterprise Florida, Inc., economic development organizations,
  197  the State University System, local governments, employee and
  198  employer organizations, market analysts, and economists, shall
  199  review and, as appropriate, revise the list of such target
  200  industries and submit the list to the Governor, the President of
  201  the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  202         (u)(p) “Taxable year” means taxable year as defined in s.
  203  220.03(1)(y).
  204         (p)(q) “Qualified target industry business” means a target
  205  industry business that has been approved by the director to be
  206  eligible for tax refunds pursuant to this section.
  207         (q) “Return on investment” means the gain in state revenues
  208  as a percentage of the state’s investment. The state’s
  209  investment includes state grants, tax exemptions, tax refunds,
  210  tax credits, and other state incentives. Return on investment is
  211  expressed mathematically as follows:
  212  
  213      Return on investment = (gain in state revenues - state’s     
  214                   investment)/state’s investment                  
  215  
  216         (r)“Rural county” means a county with a population of
  217  75,000 or fewer or a county with a population of 100,000 or
  218  fewer which is contiguous to a county with a population of
  219  75,000 or fewer.
  220         (r)(s) “Rural city” means a city having with a population
  221  of 10,000 or fewer less, or a city having with a population of
  222  greater than 10,000 but fewer less than 20,000 which has been
  223  determined by the office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic
  224  Development to have economic characteristics such as, but not
  225  limited to, a significant percentage of residents on public
  226  assistance, a significant percentage of residents with income
  227  below the poverty level, or a significant percentage of the
  228  city’s employment base in agriculture-related industries.
  229         (s)(t) “Rural community” means:
  230         1. A county having with a population of 75,000 or fewer.
  231         2. A county having with a population of 125,000 or fewer
  232  which is contiguous to a county having with a population of
  233  75,000 or fewer.
  234         3. A municipality within a county described in subparagraph
  235  1. or subparagraph 2.
  236  
  237  For purposes of this paragraph, population shall be determined
  238  in accordance with the most recent official estimate pursuant to
  239  s. 186.901.
  240         (b)(u) “Authorized local economic development agency” means
  241  a any public or private entity, including those defined in s.
  242  288.075, authorized by a county or municipality to promote the
  243  general business or industrial interests of that county or
  244  municipality.
  245         (3)(2) TAX REFUND; ELIGIBLE AMOUNTS.—
  246         (a) There shall be allowed, from the account, a refund to a
  247  qualified target industry business for the amount of eligible
  248  taxes certified by the director which were paid by the such
  249  business. The total amount of refunds for all fiscal years for
  250  each qualified target industry business must be determined
  251  pursuant to subsection (4) (3). The annual amount of a refund to
  252  a qualified target industry business must be determined pursuant
  253  to subsection (6) (5).
  254         (b)1. Upon approval by the director, a qualified target
  255  industry business shall be allowed tax refund payments equal to
  256  $3,000 times the number of jobs specified in the tax refund
  257  agreement under subparagraph (5)(a)1. (4)(a)1., or equal to
  258  $6,000 times the number of jobs if the project is located in a
  259  rural county or an enterprise zone.
  260         2.Further, A qualified target industry business shall be
  261  allowed additional tax refund payments equal to $1,000 times the
  262  number of jobs specified in the tax refund agreement under
  263  subparagraph (5)(a)1. (4)(a)1., if such jobs pay an annual
  264  average wage of at least 150 percent of the average area private
  265  sector wage in the area, or equal to $2,000 times the number of
  266  jobs if such jobs pay an annual average area wage of at least
  267  200 percent of the average area private sector wage in the area.
  268         (c) A qualified target industry business may not receive
  269  refund payments of more than 25 percent of the total tax refunds
  270  specified in the tax refund agreement under subparagraph
  271  (5)(a)1. (4)(a)1. in any fiscal year. Further, a qualified
  272  target industry business may not receive more than $1.5 million
  273  in refunds under this section in any single fiscal year, or more
  274  than $2.5 million in any single fiscal year if the project is
  275  located in an enterprise zone. A qualified target industry
  276  business may not receive more than $5 million in refund payments
  277  under this section in all fiscal years, or more than $7.5
  278  million if the project is located in an enterprise zone.Funds
  279  made available pursuant to this section may not be expended in
  280  connection with the relocation of a business from one community
  281  to another community in this state unless the Office of Tourism,
  282  Trade, and Economic Development determines that without such
  283  relocation the business will move outside this state or
  284  determines that the business has a compelling economic rationale
  285  for the relocation and that the relocation will create
  286  additional jobs.
  287         (d)(c) After entering into a tax refund agreement under
  288  subsection (5) (4), a qualified target industry business may:
  289         1. Receive refunds from the account for the following taxes
  290  due and paid by that business beginning with the first taxable
  291  year of the business which begins after entering into the
  292  agreement:
  293         a. Corporate income taxes under chapter 220.
  294         b. Insurance premium tax under s. 624.509.
  295         2. Receive refunds from the account for the following taxes
  296  due and paid by that business after entering into the agreement:
  297         a. Taxes on sales, use, and other transactions under
  298  chapter 212.
  299         b. Intangible personal property taxes under chapter 199.
  300         c. Emergency excise taxes under chapter 221.
  301         d. Excise taxes on documents under chapter 201.
  302         e. Ad valorem taxes paid, as defined in s. 220.03(1).
  303         f. State communications services taxes administered under
  304  chapter 202. This provision does not apply to the gross receipts
  305  tax imposed under chapter 203 and administered under chapter 202
  306  or the local communications services tax authorized under s.
  307  202.19.
  308  
  309  The addition of state communications services taxes administered
  310  under chapter 202 is remedial in nature and retroactive to
  311  October 1, 2001. The office may make supplemental tax refund
  312  payments to allow for tax refunds for communications services
  313  taxes paid by an eligible qualified target industry business
  314  after October 1, 2001.
  315         (e)(d) However, a qualified target industry business may
  316  not receive a refund under this section for any amount of
  317  credit, refund, or exemption granted to that business for any of
  318  the such taxes listed in paragraph (d). If a refund for such
  319  taxes is provided by the office, which taxes are subsequently
  320  adjusted by the application of any credit, refund, or exemption
  321  granted to the qualified target industry business other than as
  322  provided in this section, the business shall reimburse the
  323  account for the amount of that credit, refund, or exemption. A
  324  qualified target industry business shall notify and tender
  325  payment to the office within 20 days after receiving any credit,
  326  refund, or exemption other than one provided in this section.
  327         (f) Refunds made available pursuant to this section may not
  328  be expended in connection with the relocation of a business from
  329  one community to another community in this state unless the
  330  office determines that without such relocation the business will
  331  move outside this state, or determines that the business has a
  332  compelling economic rationale for the relocation and that the
  333  relocation will create additional jobs.
  334         (g)(e) A qualified target industry business that
  335  fraudulently claims a refund under this section:
  336         1. Is liable for repayment of the amount of the refund to
  337  the account, plus a mandatory penalty in the amount of 200
  338  percent of the tax refund which shall be deposited into the
  339  General Revenue Fund.
  340         2. Commits Is guilty of a felony of the third degree,
  341  punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  342         (4)(3) APPLICATION AND APPROVAL PROCESS.—
  343         (a) To apply for certification as a qualified target
  344  industry business under this section, the business must file an
  345  application with the office before the business decides has made
  346  the decision to locate a new business in this state or before
  347  the business decides had made the decision to expand its an
  348  existing operations business in this state. The application must
  349  shall include, but need is not be limited to, the following
  350  information:
  351         1. The applicant’s federal employer identification number
  352  and, if applicable, the applicant’s state sales tax registration
  353  number.
  354         2. The proposed permanent location of the applicant’s
  355  facility in this state at which the project is or is to be
  356  located.
  357         3. A description of the type of business activity or
  358  product covered by the project, including a minimum of a five
  359  digit NAICS code for all activities included in the project. As
  360  used in this paragraph, “NAICS” means those classifications
  361  contained in the North American Industry Classification System,
  362  as published in 2007 by the Office of Management and Budget,
  363  Executive Office of the President, and updated periodically.
  364         4. The proposed number of net new full-time equivalent
  365  Florida jobs at the qualified target industry business as of
  366  December 31 of each year included in the project and the average
  367  wage of those jobs. If more than one type of business activity
  368  or product is included in the project, the number of jobs and
  369  average wage for those jobs must be separately stated for each
  370  type of business activity or product.
  371         5. The total number of full-time equivalent employees
  372  employed by the applicant in this state, if applicable.
  373         6. The anticipated commencement date of the project.
  374         7. A brief statement explaining concerning the role that
  375  the estimated tax refunds to be requested will play in the
  376  decision of the applicant to locate or expand in this state.
  377         8. An estimate of the proportion of the sales resulting
  378  from the project that will be made outside this state.
  379         9. A resolution adopted by the governing board of the
  380  county or municipality in which the project will be located,
  381  which resolution recommends that the project certain types of
  382  businesses be approved as a qualified target industry business
  383  and specifies states that the commitments of local financial
  384  support necessary for the target industry business exist. In
  385  advance of the passage of such resolution, the office may also
  386  accept an official letter from an authorized local economic
  387  development agency that endorses the proposed target industry
  388  project and pledges that sources of local financial support for
  389  such project exist. For the purposes of making pledges of local
  390  financial support under this subsection, the authorized local
  391  economic development agency shall be officially designated by
  392  the passage of a one-time resolution by the local governing
  393  authority.
  394         10. Any additional information requested by the office.
  395         (b) To qualify for review by the office, the application of
  396  a target industry business must, at a minimum, establish the
  397  following to the satisfaction of the office:
  398         1.a. The jobs proposed to be created provided under the
  399  application, pursuant to subparagraph (a)4., must pay an
  400  estimated annual average wage equaling at least 115 percent of
  401  the average private sector wage in the area where the business
  402  is to be located or the statewide private sector average wage.
  403  In determining the average annual wage, the office shall include
  404  only new proposed jobs, and wages for existing jobs shall be
  405  excluded from this calculation.
  406         b. The office may waive the average wage requirement at the
  407  request of the local governing body recommending the project and
  408  Enterprise Florida, Inc. The director may waive the wage
  409  requirement may only be waived for a project located in a
  410  brownfield area designated under s. 376.80 or in a rural city,
  411  rural community, or county, or in an enterprise zone and only if
  412  when the merits of the individual project or the specific
  413  circumstances in the community in relationship to the project
  414  warrant such action. If the local governing body and Enterprise
  415  Florida, Inc., make such a recommendation, it must be
  416  transmitted in writing and the specific justification for the
  417  waiver recommendation must be explained. If the director elects
  418  to waive the wage requirement, the waiver must be stated in
  419  writing and the reasons for granting the waiver must be
  420  explained.
  421         2. The target industry business’s project must result in
  422  the creation of at least 10 jobs at the such project and, if an
  423  expansion of an existing business, must result in an a net
  424  increase in employment of at least 10 percent at the business.
  425  Notwithstanding the definition of the term “expansion of an
  426  existing business” in paragraph (1)(g), At the request of the
  427  local governing body recommending the project and Enterprise
  428  Florida, Inc., the office may waive this requirement for a
  429  business in a rural community or enterprise zone define an
  430  “expansion of an existing business” in a rural community or an
  431  enterprise zone as the expansion of a business resulting in a
  432  net increase in employment of less than 10 percent at such
  433  business if the merits of the individual project or the specific
  434  circumstances in the community in relationship to the project
  435  warrant such action. If the local governing body and Enterprise
  436  Florida, Inc., make such a request, the request must be
  437  transmitted in writing and the specific justification for the
  438  request must be explained. If the director elects to grant the
  439  request, the grant must be stated in writing and the reason for
  440  granting the request must be explained.
  441         3. The business activity or product for the applicant’s
  442  project is within an industry or industries that have been
  443  identified by the office as a target industry business to be
  444  high-value-added industries that contributes contribute to the
  445  area and to the economic growth of the state and the region in
  446  which it is located, that produces produce a higher standard of
  447  living for residents of this state in the new global economy, or
  448  that can be shown to make an equivalent contribution to the area
  449  and state’s economic progress. The director must approve
  450  requests to waive the wage requirement for brownfield areas
  451  designated under s. 376.80 unless it is demonstrated that such
  452  action is not in the public interest.
  453         (c) Each application meeting the requirements of paragraph
  454  (b) must be submitted to the office for determination of
  455  eligibility. The office shall review and evaluate each
  456  application based on, but not limited to, the following
  457  criteria:
  458         1. Expected contributions to the state economy, consistent
  459  with the state strategic economic development plan adopted by
  460  Enterprise Florida, Inc., taking into account the long-term
  461  effects of the project and of the applicant on the state
  462  economy.
  463         2. The return on investment of the proposed award of tax
  464  refunds under this section and the return on investment for
  465  state incentives proposed for the project. The Office of
  466  Economic and Demographic Research shall review and evaluate the
  467  methodology and model used to calculate the return on investment
  468  and report its findings by September 1 of every third year,
  469  beginning September 1, 2010, to the President of the Senate and
  470  the Speaker of the House of Representatives economic benefit of
  471  the jobs created by the project in this state, taking into
  472  account the cost and average wage of each job created.
  473         3. The amount of capital investment to be made by the
  474  applicant in this state.
  475         4. The local financial commitment and support for the
  476  project.
  477         5. The effect of the project on the unemployment rate in
  478  local community, taking into account the unemployment rate for
  479  the county where the project will be located.
  480         6. The effect of the award any tax refunds granted pursuant
  481  to this section on the viability of the project and the
  482  probability that the project would will be undertaken in this
  483  state if such tax refunds are granted to the applicant, taking
  484  into account the expected long-term commitment of the applicant
  485  to economic growth and employment in this state.
  486         7. The expected long-term commitment of the applicant to
  487  economic growth and employment to this state resulting from the
  488  project.
  489         8. A review of the business’s past activities in this state
  490  or other states, including whether such business has been
  491  subjected to criminal or civil fines and penalties. This
  492  subparagraph does not require the disclosure of confidential
  493  information.
  494         (d) Applications shall be reviewed and certified pursuant
  495  to s. 288.061. The office shall include in its review
  496  projections of the tax refunds the business would be eligible to
  497  receive in each fiscal year based on the creation and
  498  maintenance of the net new Florida jobs specified in
  499  subparagraph (a)4. as of December 31 of the preceding state
  500  fiscal year. If appropriate, the director shall enter into a
  501  written agreement with the qualified target industry business
  502  pursuant to subsection (5) (4).
  503         (e) The director may not certify any target industry
  504  business as a qualified target industry business if the value of
  505  tax refunds to be included in that letter of certification
  506  exceeds the available amount of authority to certify new
  507  businesses as determined in s. 288.095(3). However, if the
  508  commitments of local financial support represent less than 20
  509  percent of the eligible tax refund payments, or to otherwise
  510  preserve the viability and fiscal integrity of the program, the
  511  director may certify a qualified target industry business to
  512  receive tax refund payments of less than the allowable amounts
  513  specified in paragraph (3)(b) (2)(b). A letter of certification
  514  that approves an application must specify the maximum amount of
  515  tax refund that will be available to the qualified industry
  516  business in each fiscal year and the total amount of tax refunds
  517  that will be available to the business for all fiscal years.
  518         (f) This section does not create a presumption that an
  519  applicant shall receive any tax refunds under this section.
  520  However, the office may issue nonbinding opinion letters, upon
  521  the request of prospective applicants, as to the applicants’
  522  eligibility and the potential amount of refunds.
  523         (5)(4) TAX REFUND AGREEMENT.—
  524         (a) Each qualified target industry business must enter into
  525  a written agreement with the office which specifies, at a
  526  minimum:
  527         1. The total number of full-time equivalent jobs in this
  528  state that will be dedicated to the project, the average wage of
  529  those jobs, the definitions that will apply for measuring the
  530  achievement of these terms during the pendency of the agreement,
  531  and a time schedule or plan for when such jobs will be in place
  532  and active in this state.
  533         2. The maximum amount of tax refunds which the qualified
  534  target industry business is eligible to receive on the project
  535  and the maximum amount of a tax refund that the qualified target
  536  industry business is eligible to receive for each fiscal year,
  537  based on the job creation and maintenance schedule specified in
  538  subparagraph 1.
  539         3. That the office may review and verify the financial and
  540  personnel records of the qualified target industry business to
  541  ascertain whether that business is in compliance with this
  542  section.
  543         4. The date by which, in each fiscal year, the qualified
  544  target industry business may file a claim under subsection (6)
  545  (5) to be considered to receive a tax refund in the following
  546  fiscal year.
  547         5. That local financial support will be annually available
  548  and will be paid to the account. The office director may not
  549  enter into a written agreement with a qualified target industry
  550  business if the local financial support resolution is not passed
  551  by the local governing body authority within 90 days after the
  552  office he or she has issued the letter of certification under
  553  subsection (4) (3).
  554         6.That the office may conduct a review of the business to
  555  evaluate whether the business is continuing to contribute to the
  556  area’s or state’s economy.
  557         7.That in the event the business does not complete the
  558  agreement, the business shall provide the office with the
  559  reasons the business was unable to complete the agreement.
  560         (b) Compliance with the terms and conditions of the
  561  agreement is a condition precedent for the receipt of a tax
  562  refund each year. The failure to comply with the terms and
  563  conditions of the tax refund agreement results in the loss of
  564  eligibility for receipt of all tax refunds previously authorized
  565  under this section and the revocation by the director of the
  566  certification of the business entity as a qualified target
  567  industry business, unless the business is eligible to receive
  568  and elects to accept a prorated refund under paragraph (6)(e)
  569  (5)(d) or the office grants the business an economic recovery
  570  extension economic-stimulus exemption.
  571         1. A qualified target industry business may submit, in
  572  writing, a request to the office for an economic recovery
  573  extension economic-stimulus exemption. The request must provide
  574  quantitative evidence demonstrating how negative economic
  575  conditions in the business’s industry, the effects of the impact
  576  of a named hurricane or tropical storm, or specific acts of
  577  terrorism affecting the qualified target industry business have
  578  prevented the business from complying with the terms and
  579  conditions of its tax refund agreement.
  580         2. Upon receipt of a request under subparagraph 1., the
  581  director has shall have 45 days to notify the requesting
  582  business, in writing, if its extension exemption has been
  583  granted or denied. In determining if an extension exemption
  584  should be granted, the director shall consider the extent to
  585  which negative economic conditions in the requesting business’s
  586  industry have occurred in the state or the effects of the impact
  587  of a named hurricane or tropical storm or specific acts of
  588  terrorism affecting the qualified target industry business have
  589  prevented the business from complying with the terms and
  590  conditions of its tax refund agreement. The office shall
  591  consider current employment statistics for this state by
  592  industry, including whether the business’s industry had
  593  substantial job loss during the prior year, when determining
  594  whether an extension exemption shall be granted.
  595         3. As a condition for receiving a prorated refund under
  596  paragraph (6)(e) (5)(d) or an economic recovery extension
  597  economic-stimulus exemption under this paragraph, a qualified
  598  target industry business must agree to renegotiate its tax
  599  refund agreement with the office to, at a minimum, ensure that
  600  the terms of the agreement comply with current law and office
  601  procedures governing application for and award of tax refunds.
  602  Upon approving the award of a prorated refund or granting an
  603  economic recovery extension economic-stimulus exemption, the
  604  office shall renegotiate the tax refund agreement with the
  605  business as required by this subparagraph. When amending the
  606  agreement of a business receiving an economic recovery extension
  607  economic-stimulus exemption, the office may extend the duration
  608  of the agreement for a period not to exceed 2 years.
  609         4. A qualified target industry business may submit a
  610  request for an economic recovery extension economic-stimulus
  611  exemption to the office in lieu of any tax refund claim
  612  scheduled to be submitted after January 1, 2009, but before July
  613  1, 2012 2011.
  614         5. A qualified target industry business that receives an
  615  economic recovery extension economic-stimulus exemption may not
  616  receive a tax refund for the period covered by the exemption.
  617         (c) The agreement must be signed by the director and by an
  618  authorized officer of the qualified target industry business
  619  within 120 days after the issuance of the letter of
  620  certification under subsection (4) (3), but not before passage
  621  and receipt of the resolution of local financial support. The
  622  office may grant an extension of this period at the written
  623  request of the qualified target industry business.
  624         (d) The agreement must contain the following legend,
  625  clearly printed on its face in bold type of not less than 10
  626  points in size: “This agreement is neither a general obligation
  627  of the State of Florida, nor is it backed by the full faith and
  628  credit of the State of Florida. Payment of tax refunds is are
  629  conditioned on and subject to specific annual appropriations by
  630  the Florida Legislature of moneys sufficient to pay amounts
  631  authorized in section 288.106, Florida Statutes.”
  632         (6)(5) ANNUAL CLAIM FOR REFUND.—
  633         (a) To be eligible to claim any scheduled tax refund, a
  634  qualified target industry business that has entered into a tax
  635  refund agreement with the office under subsection (5) (4) must
  636  apply by January 31 of each fiscal year to the office for the
  637  tax refund scheduled to be paid from the appropriation for the
  638  fiscal year that begins on July 1 following the January 31
  639  claims-submission date. The office may, upon written request,
  640  grant a 30-day extension of the filing date.
  641         (b) The claim for refund by the qualified target industry
  642  business must include a copy of all receipts pertaining to the
  643  payment of taxes for which the refund is sought and data related
  644  to achievement of each performance item specified in the tax
  645  refund agreement. The amount requested as a tax refund may not
  646  exceed the amount specified for the relevant fiscal year in that
  647  agreement.
  648         (c) If the qualified target industry business provides the
  649  office with proof that in a single year it has paid an amount of
  650  state taxes, from the categories in paragraph (3)(d), which is
  651  at least equal to the total amount of tax refunds it may receive
  652  through successful completion of its qualified target industry
  653  agreement, the office may waive the requirement for proof of
  654  taxes paid in future years.
  655         (d)(c) A tax refund may not be approved for a qualified
  656  target industry business unless the required local financial
  657  support has been paid into the account for that refund. If the
  658  local financial support provided is less than 20 percent of the
  659  approved tax refund, the tax refund must be reduced. In no event
  660  may the tax refund exceed an amount that is equal to 5 times the
  661  amount of the local financial support received. Further, funding
  662  from local sources includes any tax abatement granted to that
  663  business under s. 196.1995 or the appraised market value of
  664  municipal or county land conveyed or provided at a discount to
  665  that business. The amount of any tax refund for such business
  666  approved under this section must be reduced by the amount of any
  667  such tax abatement granted or the value of the land granted; and
  668  the limitations in subsection (3) (2) and paragraph (4)(e)
  669  (3)(e) must be reduced by the amount of any such tax abatement
  670  or the value of the land granted. A report listing all sources
  671  of the local financial support shall be provided to the office
  672  when such support is paid to the account.
  673         (e)(d) A prorated tax refund, less a 5 percent 5-percent
  674  penalty, shall be approved for a qualified target industry
  675  business if provided all other applicable requirements have been
  676  satisfied and the business proves to the satisfaction of the
  677  director that:
  678         1. It has achieved at least 80 percent of its projected
  679  employment; and that
  680         2. The average wage paid by the business is at least 90
  681  percent of the average wage specified in the tax refund
  682  agreement, but in no case less than 115 percent of the average
  683  private sector wage in the area available at the time of
  684  certification, or 150 percent or 200 percent of the average
  685  private sector wage if the business requested the additional
  686  per-job tax refund authorized in paragraph (3)(b) (2)(b) for
  687  wages above those levels.
  688  
  689  The prorated tax refund shall be calculated by multiplying the
  690  tax refund amount for which the qualified target industry
  691  business would have been eligible, if all applicable
  692  requirements had been satisfied, by the percentage of the
  693  average employment specified in the tax refund agreement which
  694  was achieved, and by the percentage of the average wages
  695  specified in the tax refund agreement which was achieved.
  696         (f)(e) The director, with such assistance as may be
  697  required from the office, the Department of Revenue, or the
  698  Agency for Workforce Innovation, shall, by June 30 following the
  699  scheduled date for submission of the tax refund claim, specify
  700  by written order the approval or disapproval of the tax refund
  701  claim and, if approved, the amount of the tax refund that is
  702  authorized to be paid to the qualified target industry business
  703  for the annual tax refund. The office may grant an extension of
  704  this date on the request of the qualified target industry
  705  business for the purpose of filing additional information in
  706  support of the claim.
  707         (g)(f) The total amount of tax refund claims approved by
  708  the director under this section in any fiscal year must not
  709  exceed the amount authorized under s. 288.095(3).
  710         (h)(g) This section does not create a presumption that a
  711  tax refund claim will be approved and paid.
  712         (i)(h) Upon approval of the tax refund under paragraphs
  713  (c), (d), and (e), and (f), the Chief Financial Officer shall
  714  issue a warrant for the amount specified in the written order.
  715  If the written order is appealed, the Chief Financial Officer
  716  may not issue a warrant for a refund to the qualified target
  717  industry business until the conclusion of all appeals of that
  718  order.
  719         (7)(6) ADMINISTRATION.—
  720         (a) The office may is authorized to verify information
  721  provided in any claim submitted for tax credits under this
  722  section with regard to employment and wage levels or the payment
  723  of the taxes to the appropriate agency or authority, including
  724  the Department of Revenue, the Agency for Workforce Innovation,
  725  or any local government or authority.
  726         (b) To facilitate the process of monitoring and auditing
  727  applications made under this program, the office may provide a
  728  list of qualified target industry businesses to the Department
  729  of Revenue, to the Agency for Workforce Innovation, or to any
  730  local government or authority. The office may request the
  731  assistance of those entities with respect to monitoring jobs,
  732  wages, and the payment of the taxes listed in subsection (3)
  733  (2).
  734         (c) Funds specifically appropriated for the tax refund
  735  program for qualified target industry businesses may not be used
  736  by the office for any purpose other than the payment of tax
  737  refunds authorized by this section.
  738         (d)Beginning with tax refund agreements signed after July
  739  1, 2010, the office shall attempt to ascertain the causes for
  740  any business’s failure to complete its agreement and shall
  741  report its findings and recommendations to the Governor, the
  742  President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
  743  Representatives. The report shall be submitted by December 1 of
  744  each year beginning in 2011.
  745         (7)Notwithstanding paragraphs (4)(a) and (5)(c), the
  746  office may approve a waiver of the local financial support
  747  requirement for a business located in any of the following
  748  counties in which businesses received emergency loans
  749  administered by the office in response to the named hurricanes
  750  of 2004: Bay, Brevard, Charlotte, DeSoto, Escambia, Flagler,
  751  Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Lee,
  752  Martin, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk,
  753  Putnam, Santa Rosa, Seminole, St. Lucie, Volusia, and Walton. A
  754  waiver may be granted only if the office determines that the
  755  local financial support cannot be provided or that doing so
  756  would effect a demonstrable hardship on the unit of local
  757  government providing the local financial support. If the office
  758  grants a waiver of the local financial support requirement, the
  759  state shall pay 100 percent of the refund due to an eligible
  760  business. The waiver shall apply for tax refund applications
  761  made for fiscal years 2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2006-2007.
  762         (8) EXPIRATION.—An applicant may not be certified as
  763  qualified under this section after June 30, 2020 2010. A tax
  764  refund agreement existing on that date shall continue in effect
  765  in accordance with its terms.
  766         Section 2. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1), subsection (2),
  767  paragraphs (a) and (d) of subsection (4), and paragraph (b) of
  768  subsection (5) of section 288.107, Florida Statutes, are amended
  769  to read:
  770         288.107 Brownfield redevelopment bonus refunds.—
  771         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section:
  772         (e) “Eligible business” means:
  773         1. A qualified target industry business as defined in s.
  774  288.106(2) s. 288.106(1)(o); or
  775         2. A business that can demonstrate a fixed capital
  776  investment of at least $2 million in mixed-use business
  777  activities, including multiunit housing, commercial, retail, and
  778  industrial in brownfield areas, or at least $500,000 in
  779  brownfield areas that do not require site cleanup, and which
  780  provides benefits to its employees.
  781         (2) BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT BONUS REFUND.—Bonus refunds
  782  shall be approved by the office as specified in the final order
  783  issued by the director and allowed from the account as follows:
  784         (a) A bonus refund of $2,500 shall be allowed to any
  785  qualified target industry business as defined by s. 288.106 for
  786  each new Florida job created in a brownfield area which is
  787  claimed on the qualified target industry business’s annual
  788  refund claim authorized in s. 288.106(6) s. 288.106(5).
  789         (b) A bonus refund of up to $2,500 shall be allowed to any
  790  other eligible business as defined in subparagraph (1)(e)2. for
  791  each new Florida job created in a brownfield which is claimed
  792  under an annual claim procedure similar to the annual refund
  793  claim authorized in s. 288.106(6) s. 288.106(5). The amount of
  794  the refund shall be equal to 20 percent of the average annual
  795  wage for the jobs created.
  796         (4) PAYMENT OF BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT BONUS REFUNDS.—
  797         (a) To be eligible to receive a bonus refund for new
  798  Florida jobs created in a brownfield, a business must have been
  799  certified as a qualified target industry business under s.
  800  288.106 or eligible business as defined in paragraph (1)(e) and
  801  must have indicated on the qualified target industry tax refund
  802  application form submitted in accordance with s. 288.106(4) s.
  803  288.106(3) or other similar agreement for other eligible
  804  business as defined in paragraph (1)(e) that the project for
  805  which the application is submitted is or will be located in a
  806  brownfield and that the business is applying for certification
  807  as a qualified brownfield business under this section, and must
  808  have signed a qualified target industry tax refund agreement
  809  with the office which indicates that the business has been
  810  certified as a qualified target industry business located in a
  811  brownfield and specifies the schedule of brownfield
  812  redevelopment bonus refunds that the business may be eligible to
  813  receive in each fiscal year.
  814         (d) After entering into a tax refund agreement as provided
  815  in s. 288.106 or other similar agreement for other eligible
  816  businesses as defined in paragraph (1)(e), an eligible business
  817  may receive brownfield redevelopment bonus refunds from the
  818  account pursuant to s. 288.106(3)(d) s. 288.106(2)(c).
  819         (5) ADMINISTRATION.—
  820         (b) To facilitate the process of monitoring and auditing
  821  applications made under this program, the office may provide a
  822  list of qualified target industry businesses to the Department
  823  of Revenue, to the Agency for Workforce Innovation, to the
  824  Department of Environmental Protection, or to any local
  825  government authority. The office may request the assistance of
  826  those entities with respect to monitoring the payment of the
  827  taxes listed in s. 288.106(3) s. 288.106(2).
  828         Section 3. Section 290.00677, Florida Statutes, is amended
  829  to read:
  830         290.00677 Rural enterprise zones; special qualifications.—
  831         (1) Notwithstanding the enterprise zone residency
  832  requirements set out in s. 212.096(1)(c), eligible businesses as
  833  defined by s. 212.096(1)(a), located in rural enterprise zones
  834  as defined by s. 290.004, may receive the basic minimum credit
  835  provided under s. 212.096 for creating a new job and hiring a
  836  person residing within the jurisdiction of a rural community
  837  county, as defined by s. 288.106(2) s. 288.106(1)(r). All other
  838  provisions of s. 212.096, including, but not limited to, those
  839  relating to the award of enhanced credits, apply to such
  840  businesses.
  841         (2) Notwithstanding the enterprise zone residency
  842  requirements set out in s. 220.03(1)(q), businesses as defined
  843  by s. 220.03(1)(c), located in rural enterprise zones as defined
  844  in s. 290.004, may receive the basic minimum credit provided
  845  under s. 220.181 for creating a new job and hiring a person
  846  residing within the jurisdiction of a rural community county, as
  847  defined by s. 288.106(2) s. 288.106(1)(r). All other provisions
  848  of s. 220.181, including, but not limited to, those relating to
  849  the award of enhanced credits apply to such businesses.
  850         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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