State regulating agency to further cut fees and improve efficiencies through Governor Scott's "It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget"
January 29, 2014
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) as well as several of its licensees and stakeholders commended Governor Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” recommendations. Governor Scott recommended $143.9 million to support DBPR’s Fiscal Year 2014-2015 operations. With the funding, DBPR will further its efforts to license efficiently and regulate fairly. As a result of Governor Scott’s recommendations, Florida businesses and professionals will realize the efforts of DBPR to further reduce burdensome regulations, cut fees and reduce its debt first-hand.
“Governor Scott’s ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ is direct and focused, and that’s how we treat our budget at DBPR each day in an effort to serve the people of Florida,” said Secretary Ken Lawson. “I see the direct impact that cutting fees, reducing burdensome regulation and eliminating state debt have on the professionals and businesses regulated by DBPR. Through a more efficient government, we are helping to ensure that any amount of money our licensees can retain and contribute to their bottom line stays where it belongs – in their pocket.”
DBPR licenses and regulates more than one million businesses and professionals throughout Florida and the policies and procedures that are in place must make sense so that these individuals can get to work in an efficient manner. As a result, DBPR regularly and aggressively requests feedback from its licensees about how to better serve, analyze, understand and remedy any burdensome barriers for license holders and applicants. Governor Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” will help ensure DBPR’s success on behalf of its licensees and customers is continued.
“Governor Scott has consistently supported businesses and professionals across the state, and his ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ reiterates his commitment to Florida’s future,” said Dr. Robert O’Neil, Chair of the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine. “The Governor’s policies, which focus on streamlining processes and increasing efficiencies, demonstrate that Florida’s government is working in the best interest of its citizens.”
“Throughout his administration, the Governor has consistently supported the restaurant and lodging industries through policies which encourage economic growth,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. “The Governor’s proposal ensures taxpayer dollars are used efficiently while supporting the success of the state’s number one employer, the tourism and hospitality industry.”
Governor Scott’s proposed budget will help ensure that the Division of Real Estate is able to continue its successful endeavors by obtaining additional support staff to ensure investigators can continue to accomplish the difficult task of identifying violations of the real estate practice. The Governor’s recommendation includes two OPS staff and additional funding to obtain subject matter expertise for a total of $106,676. Florida has more than 300,000 licensed realtors and more than 10,000 licensed real estate appraisers and the profession’s integrity is vital to Florida’s economy. The Division of Real Estate recently cut fees for licensees seeking to obtain license certification online, which may result in an annual cost savings of more than $45,000 for that segment of licensees.
“Florida’s real estate industry is growing and Governor Scott’s budget proposal places an important emphasis on the commitment from the state to support the industry and its success,” said Poul Hornsleth, Vice-Chair of the Florida Real Estate Commission. “The Governor’s focus on cutting fees and taxes helps all Floridians while his strategic placement of funding ensures state government is working to support the growth of the profession.”
“As one of the largest industries licensed by the state, each individual licensed realtor or appraiser interacts with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation in some way whether it’s calling the customer contact center, taking an exam or using the website,” said John Sebree, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at the Florida Association of Realtors. “Governor Scott and DBPR take a very serious approach to making it easier to do business in Florida, while also protecting our profession and Florida’s consumers by investing in an aggressive campaign to combat unlicensed activity.”
Through another effort to reduce fees for its customers, DBPR recently added CPAs to the list of profession types who may now receive a certification of their license online for free. This efficiency has eliminated a $50 fee for licensees as a result of this online option. The elimination of these fees may result in an annual cost savings of approximately $12,300 among Florida CPA professionals licensed by DBPR each year.
“Certified Public Accountants must be licensed by the state and to that effect, it’s imperative that the regulatory agency takes the right approach to protecting the profession while also being proactive in reducing burdensome regulations that don’t make sense,” said Deborah Curry, President/CEO of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “Governor Scott’s recommended budget positively impacts the industry at the ground level from easy to use online services to process improvements.”
Governor Scott has also recommended that the Department be granted increased spending authority of $3 million for the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund, which enables Florida families who have suffered monetary damages due to financial misconduct or fraud from certain contractors to obtain financial support. As a result of this allocation, 117 Florida families received financial support to aid in remedying losses in the past fiscal year.
“Governor Scott’s ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ demonstrates his continued support for the construction industry by encouraging further growth in the state,” said Bruce Kershner, Director of Government Affairs at the Underground Utility Contractors of Florida, Inc. “The association applauds the Governor for implementing sound policies that support businesses in Florida.”
“The construction industry is Florida’s economic backbone and many laws are in place to ensure the protection of Florida’s consumers, while also providing opportunities for those of us in the construction business to be successful through well-thought-out policies,” said Aaron Boyette, current member of the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board. “Through the support of Governor Scott’s budget recommendations, Florida’s construction industry will be made stronger by keeping regulations that make sense and encouraging better education among Florida contractors.”
“Florida’s construction industry is on the rise and the Governor’s budget recommendations take many important factors into consideration from cutting fees to supporting Florida families,” said Warren Husband, legislative counsel for Florida’s Associated General Contractors. “I applaud the Governor for his continued commitment to each Floridian who works within the construction industry and his strategic management of funding for important programs.”
Governor Scott’s budget proposal includes $158,154 for the Florida State Boxing Commission (FSBC). The FSBC is housed within DBPR and is responsible for licensing and regulating professional and amateur combat sports. The recommended budget enables the FSBC to continue its successful initiatives such as creating online services making it easier and quicker to obtain professional licenses. As a result of recent successes by the FSBC, Florida held one of the largest professional boxing events in its history this past October with more than 10,000 fans filling the seats of the Amway Center in Orlando, which positively impacted the local economy.
“Florida is a prime destination for professional combat sports and having a competent Commission to ensure the integrity of the sport is even more valuable to those of us invested in the sport,” said Bob Arum, the Hall of Fame promoter from Top Rank. “In October, we held the largest professional boxing event in Florida in decades with thousands of fans, but one of the greatest successes was being able to work with a Commission that was efficient, friendly and helpful in getting our business done.”
Governor Scott’s budget also recommends that DBPR’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) be granted authority to use $205,000 of Federal forfeiture funds to invest in necessary training and equipment for the Division’s enforcement bureau. In addition to ensuring that licensed establishments are in compliance, ABT is charged with keeping alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of underage persons through various campaigns or programs during the college football, spring break and prom seasons. This training and equipment will assist ABT enforcement as they help keep Floridians and visitors safe. In Fiscal Year 2012-13, the Division collected more than $1.7 billion in state tax revenue.
“The Governor’s budget proposal will help maintain the integrity of the alcoholic beverage products that are being served to Florida’s citizens and visitors,” said John Saputo, Owner of Gold Coast Eagle. “I support this initiative and commend the Governor for his commitment to the growing industry in Florida.”
Additionally, the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco launched a civilianization program to focus on its core mission with the reclassification of sworn law enforcement positions to non-sworn inspectors. This efficiency resulted in a cost savings of more than $243,241, for a cumulative savings of $441,397 since its inception.
“Florida’s retailers appreciate the many vital services that are delivered efficiently and effectively by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Governor Scott’s budget proposal demonstrates his support and commitment to Florida retailers. These strategic funding efforts demonstrate tax dollars are used efficiently while supporting the success of Florida businesses,” said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses and regulates more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from hotels and restaurants, real estate agents and certified public accountants to veterinarians, contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
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