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Florida Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

Visit Real Street's website to learn more about this event. The updated Florida incentives guide is brought to you by Real Street Expo, a new event sponsored by Business Facilities and Today’s Facility Manager magazines.

For a list of Florida economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.


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 a 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 a R&D facility, make a cumulative investment of at least $25 million) in a three-year period.
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.
Local Government Distressed Area Matching Grant Program (LDMG):
Assists local governments in attracting and retaining targeted businesses. Applications are accepted from local governments/municipalities that plan on offering financial assistance to a specific business in the area. These targeted businesses are required to create at least 15 full-time jobs and the project must either be new to Florida; expanding operations in Florida; or leaving Florida unless it receives local and state government assistance. The amount awarded by the State will equal $50,000 or 50% of the local government’s assistance amount, whichever is less, and be provided following the commitment and payment of that assistance. Florida offers increased incentive awards and lower wage qualification thresholds in its rural counties.
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 is 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).

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.

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.


About The Author

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager. In September 2012, she transitioned to a new role dedicated to developing online content for Business Facilities and Today's Facility Manager. Schwartz can be reached at [email protected]

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