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Florida Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

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Financing

High Impact Performance Incentive: A negotiated grant used to attract and grow major high impact facilities in Florida. Grants are provided to pre-approved applicants in certain high-impact sectors. In order to participate in the program, the project must: operate within designated high-impact portions of the following sectors—clean energy, corporate headquarters, financial services, life sciences, semiconductors, and transportation equipment manufacturing; create at least 50 new full-time equivalent jobs (if R&D facility, create at least 25 new full-time equivalent jobs) in Florida in a three-year period; and make a cumulative investment in the state of at least $50 million (if R&D facility, make a cumulative investment of at least $25 million) in a three-year period.

Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund: The Quick Action Closing Fund (Closing Fund) is a discretionary grant incentive that can be accessed by Florida’s Governor, after consultation with the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to respond to unique requirements of wealth-creating projects. When Florida is vying for intensely competitive projects, Closing Funds may be utilized to overcome a distinct, quantifiable disadvantage after other available resources have been exhausted.

Economic Development Transportation Fund: Commonly referred to as the Road Fund, it is an incentive tool designed to alleviate transportation problems that adversely impact a specific company’s location or expansion decision. The award amount is based on the number of new and retained jobs and the eligible transportation project costs, up to $3 million. The award is made to the local government on behalf of a specific business for public transportation improvements.

Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund: Program established within the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to facilitate the use of existing federal, state and local financial resources to promote the economic viability of rural communities. The program provides long-term loans, loan guarantees and loan loss reserves. Generally, the interest rate will not exceed 5% per annum; and the commitment fee for a guaranty will not exceed 3%. The Director of DEO makes the final decisions on projects including all terms and conditions of the loan. Eligible Projects/Expenditures:

  • Any public purpose project may be acquired, constructed or improved with the assistance of the program.
  • Projects must result in the creation or retention of jobs, the maintenance of existing industry or economic activity or the expansion or diversification of the local economic base.
  • Eligible uses of loan proceeds include: the purchase of equipment; the acquisition, construction or improvement of buildings; acquisition of land, water/sewer projects.

Rural Infrastructure Fund Grant: To facilitate the planning, preparing and financing of traditional economic development or nature-based tourism infrastructure projects that encourage job creation and capital investment in rural communities. The DEO may award up to 40% of total costs for catalyst site projects, and no more than 30% of total costs for projects in rural counties that are not located on designated catalyst sites. The maximum amount available per grant/project is limited to 25% of appropriated funds. The three types of grants available under the Rural Infrastructure are as follows:

  • Total Project Participation Grants – Up to 30% of the total infrastructure project costs related to specific job-creating opportunities.
  • Infrastructure Feasibility Grants – Funding for infrastructure feasibility studies, design and engineering or other planning and preparation activities that will help facilitate the location or expansion of specific job-creating opportunities. Grant awards are dependent on the number of jobs a business commits to create; project location; and the degree to which administrative and consultant expenses are minimized.
  • $50,000 (max.) for projects creating at least 100 jobs.
  • $150,000 (max.) for projects creating at least 300 jobs.
  • $300,000 (max.) for projects in a Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC).

Please Note: Feasibility Grants may be used in conjunction with Total Project Participation Grants. The total of both grants may not exceed 30% of the total project cost.

  • Preclearance Review Grants – This grant is used to help local governments access resources available pursuant to section 403.973(18), F.S. (Expedited permitting; comprehensive plan amendments). Grants may be used for surveys, feasibility studies and other activities related to the identification and preclearance review of land use modifications. Available funding and the required match are dependent on the location of the project and the degree to which administrative and consultant expenses are minimized.
  • $75,000 (max.) with a 50% local match.
  • $300,000 (max.) with a 33% local match for activities in a RACEC.

Urban Incentives: Florida offers increased incentive awards and lower wage qualification thresholds for businesses locating in many urban core/inner city areas that are experiencing conditions affecting the economic viability of the community and hampering the self-sufficiency of the residents.

Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus Refund: Available to encourage Brownfield redevelopment and job creation. Approved applicants receive tax refunds of up to $2,500 for each job created. Florida offers incentives to businesses that locate in Brownfield sites—underutilized industrial or commercial sites with an executed Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Agreement (BSRA).

Tax Incentives

Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Incentive (QTI): Available for companies that create high wage jobs in targeted high value-added industries. This incentive includes refunds on corporate income, sales, ad valorem, intangible personal property, insurance premium and certain other taxes. Pre-approved applicants who create jobs in Florida receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new Florida full-time equivalent job created; $6,000 in an Enterprise Zone or Rural Community (county). For businesses paying 150% of the average annual wage, add $1,000 per job; for businesses paying 200% of the average annual salary, add $2,000 per job; businesses falling within a designated high impact sector or increasing exports of its goods through a seaport or airport in the state by at least 10% in value or tonnage in each year of receiving a QTI refund, add $2,000 per job; projects locating in a designated Brownfield area with an executed Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Agreement (Brownfield Bonus) can add $2,500 per job.

Qualified Defense and Space Contractor Tax Refund (QDSC): Florida is committed to preserving and growing its high technology employment base by giving Florida defense, homeland security and space business contractors a competitive edge in consolidating contracts or subcontracts, acquiring new contracts or converting contracts to commercial production. Pre-approved applicants creating or retaining jobs in Florida may receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new Florida full-time equivalent job created or retained; $6,000 in an Enterprise Zone or rural county. For businesses paying 150% of the average annual wage, add $1,000 per job; for businesses paying 200% of the average annual salary, add $2,000 per job.

Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC): Used to attract and grow capital-intensive industries in Florida. It is an annual credit, provided for up to 20 years, against the corporate income tax. Eligible projects are those in designated high-impact portions of the following sectors: clean energy, corporate headquarters, financial services, life sciences, semiconductors and transportation equipment manufacturing. Projects must also create a minimum of 100 jobs and invest at least $25 million in eligible capital costs.

Enterprise Zone Incentives: An assortment of tax incentives to businesses that choose to create employment within an enterprise zone—a specific geographic area targeted for economic revitalization. These include a sales and use tax credit, tax refund for business machinery and equipment used in an enterprise zone, sales tax refund for building materials used in an Enterprise Zone and a sales tax exemption for electrical energy used in an enterprise zone.

Workforce Development 

Quick Response Training Program (QRT): An employer-driven training program designed to assist new value-added businesses and provide existing Florida businesses the necessary training for expansion. A state educational facility—community college, area technical center, school district or university—is available to assist with application and program development or delivery. The educational facility will also serve as fiscal agent for the project. The company may use in-house training, outside vendor training programs or the local educational entity to provide training. Reimbursable training expenses include: instructors’/trainers’ wages, curriculum development, and textbooks/manuals.

Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWT): Provides training to currently employed workers to keep Florida’s workforce competitive in a global economy and to retain existing businesses. The program is available to all Florida businesses that have been in operation for at least one year prior to application and require skills upgrade training for existing employees. Priority is given to businesses in targeted industries, Enterprise Zones, HUB Zones, Inner City Distressed areas, Rural Counties and areas and Brownfield areas.

Tax Exemptions

Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment Sales Tax Exemption: Manufacturers are eligible for a 100% exemption of the sales and use tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment. In order to qualify for the new business exemption, the machinery and equipment must have been purchased, or a purchase agreement made, prior to the date the business first begins to produce a product for inventory or immediate sale. If a purchase agreement was made prior to the beginning of production, such machinery and equipment must be received within twelve months of the date that production began.

Electricity Tax Exemption: The Electricity Tax Exemption is applied to 100% of the electricity purchased if 75% or more is used to operate machinery and equipment at a fixed location to manufacture, process, compound, produce, or prepare for shipment items of tangible personal property for sale, or to operate pollution control equipment, recycling equipment, maintenance equipment, or monitoring or control equipment used in such operations. The exemption is applied to 50% of the electricity or steam purchased if 50% to 75% is used in manufacturing. No separate metering is required.

Updated 1/13/15

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