The Communications Services Tax Workgroup convened on Tuesday, October 16 and again on Wednesday, October 31 at the Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR) offices to continue scheduled meetings.  The workgroup was created during the 2012 Legislative Session and charged with reviewing and studying tax issues related to the sale of the Communications Services Tax.  The culmination of these meetings is to develop and submit a report that will be presented to the governor, president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by February 1, 2013. 

 
FAC Involvement

The Florida Association of Counties (FAC) has two representatives appointed to the workgroup.  The representatives are:

  • Davin J. Suggs, Senior Legislative Advocate, Florida Association of Counties
  • Alan S. Rosenzweig, Deputy County Administrator, Leon County

 FAC staff will continue to not only monitor activities of the CST workgroup, but also provide staff support to the appointed representatives.

 Prior to the meeting on October 16, FAC hosted a CST webinar for county budget and finance directors and county lobbyists to update them and receive input moving forward.  Highlights of the presentation included an update of the CST Working Group and review of policy statements brought forward at the Policy Committee Conference in September.  Below are the policy statements that will be brought forward for approval at the Legislative Conference in November, but to view the full presentation click here Communications Services Tax Presentation.

 FAC CST PROPOSED POLICY STATEMENT

SUPPORT amending and/or revising current law in a manner that is:

1)      revenue neutral;

2)      simplifies administration and collection of the current tax;

3)      provides for a broad and equitable tax base;

4)      provides for the enhanced stability and reliability as an important revenue source for local government; and provides for the opportunity for market-based growth

CST Working Group Report

As a part of its mission established in the enacting 2012 legislation, the working group is responsible for developing a report identifying potential options to address two factors regarding the administration of the CST.  They are:

  1. Streamlining the administrative system; and
  2. Removing competitive advantages within the industry as it relates to the state's tax structure without unduly reducing revenue to local governments.

The October 16 CST Working Group meeting consisted of reviewing and discussing options that each member submitted to FDOR staff to address these two factors.  Davin Suggs presented the policy statements discussed by FAC membership at Septembers Policy Committee Conference and during the October 11 webinar.  Other members presented options as well for feedback and discussion.  The options will be further reviewed and discussed at the October 31 meeting, but in the meantime the group asked DOR to provide the following:

  • List the pros and cons of each option presented specifically those that may cause revenue changes;
  • Provide options for modernizing the definition of CST;
  • Include tiered rate structure model that will keep local governments whole; and
  • Provide county-by-county analysis of an additional half cent local option sales tax vs. current CST

During the October 31 CST Working Group meeting FDOR staff provided follow-up items from the previous meeting.  Alan Rosenzweig, Leon County, presented the county’s 2013 legislative priority regarding CST.  The working group reviewed all options submitted by members and identified the following approaches based upon options submitted:

 

  1. Fix the CST under its current structure
  2. Partial replacement of CST
  3. Statewide holistic replacement of CST

The group came to a consensus that, #3. Statewide holistic replacement of CST, would be the best approach.  However, the group suggested a different workgroup be formed with expertise on tax issues to delve deeper into the holistic approach.

Next Meeting

The next CST meeting will be Friday, December 7, 2012.  Please visit http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/cst_workgroup/ for more information on the workgroup including:

  • A complete listing of Task Force and workgroup members;
  • Meeting Agendas
  • Meeting Materials;
  • Meeting Transcripts;
  • Future Meeting Dates and Times;
  • CST Working Group draft options and recommendations;
  • Other Information

 

For More Information

Additionally, to share your comments, suggestions or ideas directly with the workgroup, please contact Andrea Moreland, Director Office of Legislative & Cabinet Services, Florida Department of Revenue at CST Working Group or Tiffany McCaskill, Legislative Executive Assistant, Florida Association of Counties at tmccaskill@fl-counties.com.