A voice for small businesses during COVID-19
Small businesses across Florida are fighting for survival as COVID-19 continues to wreck our economy and destroy lives. Understanding the need for support from the same state government that shut them down in the first place, Carlos has publicly called on Governor Ron DeSantis to redirect support for giant corporations instead towards struggling small businesses trying to stay afloat.
The Governor instead offered $50 million to small businesses through the Florida Bridge Loan program. Even though these loans had to be repaid, 38,000 businesses applied. Weeks later, it was announced that only 1,000 loan applications were approved. Later that month, Gov. Desantis issued $543 million in corporate tax refunds to the top 1% of Florida businesses who didn't need it. Carlos is fighting for a state relief package to help save small businesses from bankruptcy due to COVID-19.
Carlos believes Florida's largest corporations, represented by highly paid lobbyists and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, are already well-represented in Tallahassee. That's why Carlos is fighting for small businesses and works with local chambers of commerce to ensure their voices are heard.
“The Florida Bridge Loan Program was only able to process 1,000 of 38,000 small businesses who applied. What’s added insult to injury is today Governor Ron DeSantis sent out $543 million in refunds to the top 1% of corporations. We should be using that to help small businesses NOT giant corporations!" - Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, April 2020
Supporting Small Businesses in House District 49
As your state representative, Carlos has voted repeatedly to reduce Florida's business rent tax. These reductions have saved our state's small businesses more than $90 million between 2018-2019, giving them more resources to expand their business and hire new employees.
Carlos welcomes 'Castaways: Sports Bar & Grill' to Waterford Lakes!
Florida is the only state that continues to charge a commercial business rent tax. Small and minority owned businesses are disproportionally impacted, which is why Rep. Smith has advocated to reduce or eliminate this tax burden over the next several years.
HD 49 Small Businesses like 'Big C Liquors' show their SUPPORT for Team Carlos!
Florida must collect online sales tax
Carlos has been a longtime champion for tax fairness. Florida does not enforce the legal collection of sales tax for the purchases of online products. This puts brick and mortar businesses at a major disadvantage when compared to online retailers who can offer the same products tax-free. Carlos supports bipartisan legislation to collect the online sales tax, level the playing field, and generate between $300 and $500 in new revenue.
Allow small businesses to enter the medical cannabis industry
Carlos believes Florida should move away from the cartel-like 'vertical integration' system of medical cannabis and instead move towards a free-market industry where small and minority-owned businesses can compete. Patients will see lower prices and better products as a result. Carlos also supports the full legalization of cannabis for adult use and has introduced bipartisan legislation with GOP Senator Jeff Brandes to do it in Florida. This legislation would eliminate 'vertical integration' and allow small businesses to enter the market while creating new jobs in our state.
When Florida's medical cannabis law was implemented in 2017, local governments around Florida began banning cannabis dispensary locations in their cities and counties. Carlos helped lead the successful local effort to persuade the Orange Board of County Commissioners to allow dispensary openings in our area and bring new jobs to House District 49.
Carlos welcomes Central FL's first drive-thru medical cannabis dispensary to East Orlando!