A publication of the Florida Chamber of Commerce
No. 5-83 May 5, 1983
With four weeks left in the 1983 Legislative Session, 1191 bills have been introduced in the Senate and
1274 have been introduced in the House. Of those figures, 17 Senate bills and 27 House bills have passed both
houses of the legislature. The Governor has signed 14 bills into law thus far.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved by a vote of 6-1 The Florida Agriculture Policy Act (SB 1012)
on Wednesday. The bill declares agriculture in the State of Florida to be a large and basic industry not free of
problems and wanting for recognition as being essential for the survival of mankind. It implies that govern-
ment, being unaware, may have caused past problems for the agricultural industry. It establishes policy against
governmental laws, rules, or orders which may create problems that would adversely affect the efficiency and
profitability of agricultural production, particularly taking into consideration the impact such laws, rules, or
orders may have on agriculture in the state.
The Water Quality Assurance Act of 1983 (HB 1129) quickly passed through the House Finance and
Tax and Appropriations committees with major amendments. HB 1129 would impose a four-cent per barrel
tax on petroleum products and a 1.5 percent tax on the wholesale value of hazardous chemicals to raise approx-
imately. $22 million annually for groundwater monitoring, hazardous waste cleanup, artesian well plugging,
and local government hazardous waste assessments. In addition, a one-time transfer of $6 million from the
Coastal Protection Trust Fund will be deposited into an Environmental Emergency Trust Fund created to deal
with hazardous waste problems which pose an immediate threat to human health.
The Senate companion, SB 489, has passed the Natural Resources, Finance and Tax, and Appropriations
committees and is now on the Senate calendar. SB 489 addresses hazardous wastes in a manner similar to HB
1129 but appropriates only $4.8 million initially for hazardous waste cleanup and approximately $1.5 million
annually thereafter from the Coastal Protection Trust Fund.
House growth management legislation is moving very slowly, and major legislation in this area seems un-
likely to pass during 1983. A Senate Natural Resources subcommittee on growth management has recently
been created to address growth-related issues. This committee held its initial hearing last Monday.
The Senate Natural Resources Subcommittee on Groundwater, the Senate's answer to House Speaker
Moffitt's Water Task Force, has produced legislation which addresses pesticide management and the regulation
of septic tanks. The Senate position on these issues appears to be markedly different from that of the House.
FINANCE AND TAX ISSUES
At its Monday meeting, the Senate Finance and Tax Committee approved 18 bills of relatively minor
importance to chamber members, except for SB 444. This bill expands the scope of municipal special assess-
ments from the financing of capital facilities and improvements to include maintenance and operating cost out-
lays. If special assessments are now seen as an alternative to property taxes, the importance of Florida's con-
stitutional property tax cap will be eroded. Also, since special assessments are not deductible for federal personal
income tax purposes, the net cost to individuals of financing government will increase.
The House Finance and Tax Committee has before it a corporate income tax piggybacking bill which
maintains the current two percent tax on ACRS depreciation and limits the rights of corporations not to piggy-
back the IRS tax code. New corporations will have to piggyback, and those corporations currently piggybacking
will not be allowed to un-piggyback.
No movement towards raising taxes to fund the Governor's budget request has been made but should
begin after the May 10 revenue estimating conference.
The "Automobile Lemon Law," HB 885 by Representative Drage (R-Orlando), has passed the House
Judiciary Committee. The bill is expected to reach the House floor this week. The bill will require manufac-
turers to replace vehicles that cannot be fixed in a reasonable amount of time or provide refunds to buyers.
It provides a consumer can seek replacement or refund after a vehicle has been in the repair shop three times
for the same uncorrected problem. Similar bills, SB 462 and SB 794 by Senators Langley and Gordon, are on
the Senate calendar for this week.
Motor Vehicle Inspections, HB 22 by Representative Easley (R-Largo), was killed in the House Trans-
portation Committee. The bill would have reinstated the motor vehicle inspection program which would require
Florida motorists to have their car inspected annually. An all-out push by The Florida Chamber with support
from the Governor's lobbyist was effective in killing the bill. The vote was 13 nays and 6 yeas.
ACTION NEEDED ON 1984 FEDERAL BUDGET
As Congress considers the 1984 budget, it has been faced with increasing pressure to repeal or delay the
10 percent tax rate cut scheduled for this summer and the tax rate indexation provision scheduled to take effect
in 1985. The indexation provision eliminates bracket creep, which has plagued Americans for years. We urge
you to immediately contact Senators Chiles and Hawkins and urge them to work to cut spending in the 1984
budget rather than eliminate the tax cut or repeal indexation. Their addresses are: Senator Lawton Chiles,
450 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 (202/224-5274) and Senator Paula Hawkins, 313
Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 (202/224-3041).
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