Tallahassee Eliminates Business License Tax

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 18:13:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The city is planning to cut taxes by $3 million in the next fiscal year. The decision to do away with the business license tax is a welcome one for companies that call Tallahassee home. Though they'll still have to pay that bill this year, it will be the last.

Matt Thompson says he can breathe easier. He owns Madison Social, one of about 12,000 businesses in Tallahassee that soon won't have to worry about one more expense.

"It allows a barriered entry to business to be eliminated, and we could be a leader in Florida for this," Thompson said.

Tallahassee businesses are required to pay a tax when renewing their licenses each year, but with the city commission's unanimous vote to put an end to the tax, these businesses collectively will get a $2 million tax break.

"You got to pay for it every year," Thompson said. "It's a reoccuring fee. On top of that, we're opening two new businesses. So, therefore, obviously, we have a vested interested in that."

"I think the message is we're open for business," said Kathy Bell, chair of the board of directors of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. "We want you to come here and do business, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to do that."

Commissioners also voted to approve a property tax cut, meaning an additional million dollars in savings.

Commissioner Scott Maddox says it's in the best interest of businesses and homeowners here.

"It's important that we let our residents and our small businesses know that we value them," Maddox said. "I wanted to push to give some money back to them, put money in their pockets that will help our economy, and government can tighten its belt a little bit."

"You have so many little one, two, three-person type of little businesses that, quite honestly, can now become -- that's one less strain upon their business and hopefully become bigger sooner," Thompson said.

Commissioners will need to officially vote on an ordinance to repeal the tax when they meet again in September.

As for how the city will make up $3 million, a spokeswoman says officials are crunching numbers now to come up with a balanced budget by the time the commission votes.