Today was the opening day of the 2011 Legislative Session in Tallahassee, and already one of FHCA's priority bills easily passed through its first committee. HB 311 by Rep. Ken Roberson (R-Port Charlotte) helps clarify how cities should apply occupational taxes to persons who are employees of businesses that already pay the tax. This is an important issue for nursing homes, whose Certified Nursing Assistants, for example, could be subject to such a tax as the local level without this exemption, thus negatively impacting their ability to work and the facility's ability to maintain an adequate workforce.
Speakers against the bill represented local city and county governments who discussed the “loss of revenue” they will experience under such exemptions. Rep. Eric Eisnaugle (R-Orlando) pointed out during the discussion that, while it might be a loss for the city government, it is a boon to small businesses and the citizens of Florida. HB 311 and its senate companion, SB 582 by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice), are a priority for FHCA, as these bills would exempt CNAs from being inappropriately taxed, ensuring these caregivers don’t become a “pay for” solution for our local government’s economic challenges. The bill now moves on to the House Finance and Tax Committee, while SB 582 is currently in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.