Florida Senate Tax Bill Includes HISA Credits, House Version Does Not

The Florida Senate’s Finance and Tax Committee unanimously advanced a tax cut proposal to the full Senate Apr. 18 that includes credits to Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs for prior-year assessments those tracks must pay to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority.
But the News Service of Florida (NSF) reported Apr. 19 that the HISA tax breaks do not appear in an otherwise similar House version of the bill.

The Senate’s tax committee Chairman, Blaise Ingoglia, told NSF that the Thoroughbred industry in Florida is operating at a “strategic disadvantage.”

“We want to make sure that the equestrian community thrives and continues to be an economic boom for the state,” Ingoglia said.

But another lawmaker, Senator Lori Berman, told NSF that “We’re supporting one industry over other industries. I think we need to look at how much money we’re going to be putting into that.”
Berman added that “I’m sure this package will be negotiated and changed.”

In almost every state, it is normal for competing versions of tax legislation to include differences that need to get worked out.

The HISA language in SB 7062 reads as follows:

“Beginning July 1, 2023, each permitholder authorized to conduct pari-mutuel wagering meets of Thoroughbred racing under this chapter is eligible for a credit equal to the amount paid by the permitholder in the prior state fiscal year to the federal HISA Authority, inclusive of any applicable true-up calculations or credits made, granted, or applied to the assessment imposed on the permitholder or the state by such authority for covered horse racing in the state…

“Beginning July 1, 2023, and each July 1 thereafter, each permitholder granted a credit pursuant to this section may apply the credit to the taxes and fees due…less any credit received by the permitholder…and less the amount of state taxes that would otherwise be due to the state…. The unused portion of the credit may be carried forward and applied each month as taxes and fees become due. Any unused credit remaining at the end of a fiscal year expires and may not be used.”
Six months ago, HISA released a proposed budget for 2023 that called for Gulfstream to pay a $5,207,048 assessment and for Tampa to pay $1,238,278.

However, those budget figures at the time assumed that HISA’s Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit would be fully operational, but the implementation of the program has been delayed by court actions.

Also in the Senate proposal are $27.5 million in total Thoroughbred industry-related distributions aimed at bolstering purses, Florida-bred incentives, track maintenance, operations and promotions.

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