MANATEE -- Manatee County developer Pat Neal is leading a campaign that will urge Florida residents to vote yes on an amendment to the state constitution this November that could save businesses millions in tax cuts.
Neal and supporters of the amendment say the tax exemptions would stimulate the economy.
Under the Tangible Personal Property Tax amendment or Amendment 10, $25,000 of the assessed value of the tangible, or movable, personal property is exempt and is also exempt if the assessed value is greater than $25,000 but less than $50,000. In addition, counties or municipalities would be allowed to make targeted tax exemptions, an action that could allow local governments to bring in desired businesses.
"It's a tax on productive activity on our state," Neal said.
In May of 2011, Neal, a former state senator, was asked for his opinion on what could be done to help Florida businesses by state government officials.
"I think the biggest thing was tangible personal real property tax," he said.
Neal, owner and CEO of Neal Communities based in
Lakewood Ranch, has since organized a task force for the campaign. As leader of the campaign, Neal is raising money for public advertising, setting up meetings with various editorial boards and reaching out to state associations.
The Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit research group that Neal chaired last year, projects $20.1 million in savings for small businesses and 156,000 businesses would be exempt if the amendment passes. The passing of the amendment would have a $190,000 impact on Manatee County in 2014, according to the Florida Association of Counties, one of the groups supporting the amendment.
Neal said the amendment would be a relief for small businesses trying to stabilize during a struggling economy.
The downside to the amendment, however, is local governments might have to raise other taxes to offset revenue losses. Since 2007, the county budget has been reduced by about $132 million and 281 positions have been eliminated in the process, said county spokesman Nick Azzara.
In certain fields, the amendment would lead to the creation of 3,000 jobs per year in the state, according to Florida TaxWatch.
The amendment requires 60 percent approval and will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams