The head of the Florida Retail Federation said Tuesday that one of the trade association’s “biggest successes” was helping block a criminal justice reform that would have raised the threshold for a felony theft charge.
“Keeping the threshold at its current limit of $300 will help to protect retailed by deterring theft, discouraging criminals from stealing larger amounts of merchandise and reducing the impact of organized retail crime,” said R. Scott Shalley, FRF’s president and CEO.
The bipartisan measure was championed by Sen. Randolph Bracy and state Rep. Byron Donalds. The proposal intended to raise the threshold for a felony theft charge from $300 to $1,500. Florida has three of the lowest thresholds in the country and has not raised the amount since 1986.
Advocates of the measure said it would have helped reduce the population at adult and juvenile detention facilities and helped lower the number of convicted felons in the state who are stripped from their right to vote, hold public office or sit on a jury.
But Shalley viewed the proposal as one that would have made retail more vulnerable.
“Keeping the threshold at its current limit of $300 will help to protect retailed by deterring theft, discouraging criminals from stealing larger amounts of merchandise and reducing the impact of organized retail crime,” he said.
FRF’s members range from grocers to pharmacists to general retail stores.
“I’m proud of the success out External Affairs team had this session in convincing legislators, stakeholders and our members the importance of these priorities and bringing so many of them across the finish line to benefit our membership,” Shalley said.
Other legislation Shalley touted were the back-to-school tax holidays and holidays for disaster preparedness, along with a bill that cut the business rent tax.
“The .1 percent reduction in the business rent tax will help a number of our members who rent their spaces yet continue to pay this tax, which remains the only one of its kind in the nation,” Shalley said.