Florida A.G.C. Council, Inc. LEGISLATIVE REPORT

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2012 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature
Prepared by Metz, Husband & Daughton, P.A.
March 12, 2012

 

IT’S OVER!!  The 2012 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature concluded at 11:59 p.m. on Friday,
March 9.  Out of 2,052 bills and resolutions filed for consideration during the Session, only 292
ultimately passed both the House and the Senate.

But the fun is not really over, because the Legislature will be back in town over the next two
weeks to redraw Florida Senate district boundaries – part of the exercise in “redistricting” that
happens every 10 years following the federal census.  On the final day of the 2012 Session, the
Florida Supreme Court released its opinion invalidating eight of the 40 Senate districts, as well
as the numbering system for seats that would allow some senators to enjoy up to 10 years in office
despite the usual 8-year term limits.   By contrast, the Court held that the new Florida House
districts passed constitutional muster.

Also on the final day of the Session, the Legislature fulfilled its annual constitutional
responsibility to pass a state budget, adopting a $70 billion spending plan for fiscal year
2012-13. The budget will make significant cuts to health care and to state universities.  In
keeping with Governor Scott’s call for a significant spending increase in K-12 education, the
budget also includes increased spending on public schools, although this increase will not offset
the cuts made last year.

On the revenue side of the ledger, several tax cuts favored by Governor Scott made it through the
Legislature last week.  On state corporate income taxes, legislators approved a doubling of the
exemption, from $25,000 to $50,000, which will take nearly 4,000 more businesses off the tax rolls.

The Legislature also moved to increase the exemption from tangible personal property taxes -- taxes
levied on business inventory and equipment -- from $25,000 to $50,000.  Under this  measure  (HJR  
1003),  local  governments  would  lose  more  than  $