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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott's call for corporate filing fee cut has a connection to Crist



Gov. Rick Scott released another fee reduction proposal Friday.

Like his proposal to roll back auto tag fees by about $400 million, the latest proposal appears to have a link to his likely opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Scott will ask the Legislature to reduce corporate filing fees by $33 million next year for businesses that must submit annual reports to the Department of State's Division of Corporations. Some of those fees were increased in 2009, when Crist was governor and Kurt Browning was secretary of state. State officials decided too many businesses were ignoring the law and getting away with it, and the state was desperately looking for new revenue during a recession.

According to a release from the governor's office, the changes would reduce about 50 different corporate filing fees and the penalties associated with late filings, taking into account the number of months the filing is late. An aide to Scott said the cut in corporate filing fees is separate from his proposal to reduce taxes and fees by $500 million.

Florida businesses have been smarting because of a change in state law a few years ago that increased penalties for corporations that miss the filing deadline. The governor's office did not release specifics on which corporate filing fees would be reduced and by how much, or how the penalties might change.

Scott's latest proposal is a recommendation to the Republican-controlled state Legislature, which writes the annual budget.

[Last modified: Sunday, January 26, 2014 9:35am]


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