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  • Writer's pictureFlorida Trust

Full Steam Ahead: SB 1310 Unanimously Passes Senate Committee on Finance and Tax

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

The win comes a week after Florida Trust’s Advocacy Day when members met with legislators advocating for funding historic preservation grants and passing a historic tax credit

The 111-year-old J.C. Newman Cigar Factory, located in El Reloj building in the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District, could have benefited from a Florida historic tax credit. If passed, the credit could help promote further rehabilitation of buildings in Ybor City.

Thursday morning SB 1310: the Main Street Tourism and Historic Revitalization Act unanimously passed the Florida Senate Committee on Finance and Tax. The bill would provide a 20% tax credit for eligible historic properties being restored and a 30% tax credit for those in a Florida Main Street designated area.

“Ybor City in Tampa was indeed the mecca for cigar factories at the turn of the century … and many, many, many of those buildings have crumbled to the ground. All that’s left is some of the red brick or yellow brick,” said committee Vice Chair Janet Cruz. “It always breaks my heart when I visit other cities outside of Florida and wonder how they have managed to maintain these spectacular buildings that we haven’t. So I think this is a wonderful step in the right direction. Full speed ahead.”

A Florida historic tax credit would certainly be part of the solution to protecting and preserving Florida’s special historic places. There was strong support for the bill at the committee meeting, including representatives from the Florida Trust, the City of Orlando, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County Economic Development, Main Street Marianna and 1000 Friends of Florida.

“Historic downtown Main Streets can serve as a hub for revitalizing of blighted areas if given the requisite incentives,” said Jane West, policy and planning director for 1000 Friends of Florida. “That is why we are highly supportive of this bill that will help revitalize Florida Main Street communities, create good paying jobs and bring vacant and underused historic buildings back to life.”

The bill goes next to the Senate Committee on Appropriations which is chaired by Sen. Kelli Stargel. The legislation’s companion bill HB 247 is waiting to be heard in the House Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy Committee.

“This is such an outstanding bill, I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be able to support this today,” said Sen. Gayle Harrell. “Preserving our historical heritage is so important and doing it through Main Street is the best way to do it. I think we are definitely on the right track, and it is going to bring tourism to our communities. We have to look at this as an economic development tool as well as historic preservation.”

Advocacy Day

On January 27, the Florida Trust held its legislative advocacy day with visits to lawmakers at the Capitol and a reception that evening at the Florida Trust House. The purpose of those visits was to advocate for fully funding the Florida Division of Historical Resources Historic Preservation Grant Program and passing the Main Street Tourism and Historic Revitalization Act, which would establish a historic tax credit in Florida.

Thank you to all the legislators and their staff members who took the time to meet with us in their offices or at the legislative reception:

Rep. Melony Bell

Rep. Tracie Davis

Rep. Jim Mooney

Rep. Michelle Salzman (sponsor of House Bill 247: the Main Street Tourism and Historic Revitalization Act)

Rep. Jason Shoaf

Rep. Emily Slosberg-King

Rep. Allison Tant

Rep. Kaylee Tuck

Rep. Clay Yarborough

Sen. Dennis Baxley

Sen. Doug Broxson

Sen. Joe Gruters

Sen. Gayle Harrell

Sen. Ed Hooper

Sen. Travis Hutson

Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez (sponsor of Senate Bill 1310: the Main Street Tourism and Historic Revitalization Act)

Sen. Stargel

We need you!

There are only 36 days remaining in the 2022 Florida Legislative Session, and we need your help to keep this important historic preservation incentive moving. Here are a few ways you can encourage your lawmakers to support the Main Street Tourism and Historic Revitalization Act.

1. Ask your senators and representatives to cosponsor either HB 247 or SB 1310.

Call or email your state representative and ask them to sign on to Rep. Michelle Salzman’s HB 247 and call or email your senator and ask them to sign on to Sen. Rodriguez’s SB 1310 as a cosponsor. Locate your state representative here and your state senator here. You can locate your state representative here and you can locate your state senator here.

2. Encourage movement in the House. Reach out to any member of the House Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Committee and ask them to support House Bill 247. The bill must be heard in the House to move forward.

Encourage support in the Senate. Reach out to any member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and ask them to support SB 1310.

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