FYI Miami: May 23, 2019
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
LEASE TAX BREAK: Florida’s sales tax on commercial leases is being reduced from the current 5.7% to 5.5% on Jan. 1, halfway through the 2019-2020 fiscal year. It is expected to provide $57.1 million in savings the following fiscal year, when it will be in place for 12 months. Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed into law legislation lowering the rate. The commercial real estate industry had long sought reduction or total elimination of the lease tax, which does not exist in states that compete with Florida for tenants.
AIR FREIGHT DECLINES: Planes passing through Miami International Airport carried 1.39% less freight tonnage in the first three months of this year than they did in the first three months of 2018. The total drop was almost 10,000 tons, from 586,273 to 576,644 tons, according to figures from the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department. US Mail, while a small piece of the cargo total, was off 15.29% year over year, from 10,830 tons in the first three months of 2018 to 9,173 in the first three months of this year.
PTSD STUDIES ORDERED: Miami-Dade will study and report on the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffered by county firefighters and first responders, as county commissioners May 7 voted 13-0 to direct the county administration to take such action. Mayor Carlos Giménez’s office is also charged with outlining in the report what is being done to help the issue, recommend additional solutions, determine how much they would cost and identify funding to pay for extra services. The administration has six months to report. A 2014 study published by the National Fire Protection Association found up to 37% of firefighters nationwide have PTSD, which affects people who have witnessed or experienced traumatic events. “Knowing how many of our first responders may be suffering from PTSD,” said Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, sponsor of the item calling for the report, “would help the county develop strategies for dealing with it.”
FUNDING ATHLETICS: Florida International University trustees are to consider next month increasing the athletic fee paid by students from $664 to $680 per academic year to cover increased team travel expenses and maintenance costs for recreation and practice fields built in 2017 and help offset reduced television revenues to the university from Conference USA, in which FIU plays. In a shift, students’ activity and service fees will be reduced by that same amount, with the university filling that gap from the educational and general fund operating budget to help fund career placement and planning services.