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Bill to give tax refunds to job training orgs passes House panel

A similar companion bill has been filed in the Senate.

A proposal from Rep. Jay Trumbull to offer sales tax refunds to job training organizations was approved by the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee Wednesday.

The measure (HB 643) states that an eligible organization “is entitled to a refund of 10 percent of the sales tax remitted to the [Department of Economic Opportunity] during the prior state fiscal year on its sales of goods donated to the organization.”

That money the must be used to boost employment hours or offer job training services to disadvantaged individuals, low-income workers or veterans.

“Potential companies that would be eligible for something like this would be Goodwill, Salvation Army, Easterseals,” Trumbull said in testifying on his bill Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s to hopefully train folks whether they be disabled or veterans or otherwise and keep them in the workforce.”

Trumbull’s bill also caps the money available for tax refunds at $2 million in a single fiscal year. For an organization to qualify for the money, it must be a 501(c)3 organization and must submit an application to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

One issue raised by the panel is the need to ensure that smaller nonprofits focused on job training get a piece of the available money.

“How are we planning to, again if this bill passes, to bring notice or awareness to this benefit?” asked Rep. Kamia Brown.

“The bill doesn’t specifically talk to that,” Trumbull responded. “So I think the onus would fall on yourself and myself and maybe these other organizations to get the word out as much as possible.”

Trumbull said he would be open to requiring the DEO to issue a mailer or newsletter of some sort to alert nonprofits of the tax refund. Rep. Al Jacquet followed up on the need to give notice later in the hearing, given the first-come, first-serve nature of the program.

“The onus is on us, as you mentioned, not only to pass out that information in our respective communities but also to place that responsibility on whomever is responsible for managing this program, that they send out something making sure that the smaller guys get wind of this,” Jacquet said.

A similar companion bill (SB 1098) has been filed in the Senate by Sen. Tom Lee.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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