(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS.—The Legislature finds that retaining and expanding existing businesses in the state, encouraging the creation of new businesses in the state, attracting new businesses from outside the state, and generally providing conditions favorable for the growth of target industries creates high-quality, high-wage employment opportunities for residents of the state and strengthens the state’s economic foundation. The Legislature also finds that incentives narrowly focused in application and scope tend to be more effective in achieving the state’s economic development goals. The Legislature further finds that higher-wage jobs reduce the state’s share of hidden costs, such as public assistance and subsidized health care associated with low-wage jobs. Therefore, the Legislature declares that it is the policy of the state to encourage the growth of higher-wage jobs and a diverse economic base by providing state tax refunds to qualified target industry businesses that originate or expand in the state or that relocate to the state.
(2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section: (a) “Account” means the Economic Development Incentives Account within the Economic Development Trust Fund established under s. 288.095. (b) “Authorized local economic development agency” means a public or private entity, including an entity defined in s. 288.075, authorized by a county or municipality to promote the general business or industrial interests of that county or municipality.
(c) “Average private sector wage in the area” means the statewide private sector average wage or the average of all private sector wages and salaries in the county or in the standard metropolitan area in which the business is located.
(d) “Business” means an employing unit, as defined in s. 443.036, that is registered for reemployment assistance purposes with the state agency providing reemployment assistance tax collection services under an interagency agreement pursuant to s. 443.1316, or a subcategory or division of an employing unit that is accepted by the state agency providing reemployment assistance tax collection services as a reporting unit.
(e) “Corporate headquarters business” means an international, national, or regional headquarters office of a multinational or multistate business enterprise or national trade association, whether separate from or connected with other facilities used by such business.
(f) “Enterprise zone” means an area designated as an enterprise zone pursuant to s. 290.0065.
(g) “Expansion of an existing business” means the expansion of an existing Florida business by or through additions to real and personal property, resulting in a net increase in employment of not less than 10 percent at such business.
(h) “Fiscal year” means the fiscal year of the state.
(i) “Jobs” means full-time equivalent positions, including, but not limited to, positions obtained from a temporary employment agency or employee leasing company or through a union agreement or coemployment under a professional employer organization agreement, that result directly from a project in this state. The term does not include temporary construction jobs involved with the construction of facilities for the project or any jobs previously included in any application for tax refunds under s. 288.1045 or this section.
(j) “Local financial support” means funding from local sources, public or private, that is paid to the Economic Development Trust Fund and that is equal to 20 percent of the annual tax refund for a qualified target industry business. A qualified target industry business may not provide, directly or indirectly, more than 5 percent of such funding in any fiscal year. The sources of such funding may not include, directly or indirectly, state funds appropriated from the General Revenue Fund or any state trust fund, excluding tax revenues shared with local governments pursuant to law.
(k) “Local financial support exemption option” means the option to exercise an exemption from the local financial support requirement available to any applicant whose project is located in a brownfield area, a rural city, or a rural community. Any applicant that exercises this option is not eligible for more than 80 percent of the total tax refunds allowed such applicant under this section.
(l) “New business” means a business that applies for a tax refund under this section before beginning operations in this state and that is a legal entity separate from any other commercial or industrial operations owned by the same business.
(m) “Project” means the creation of a new business or expansion of an existing business.
(n) “Qualified target industry business” means a target industry business approved by the department to be eligible for tax refunds under this section.
(o) “Rural city” means a city having a population of 10,000 or fewer, or a city having a population of greater than 10,000 but fewer than 20,000 that has been determined by the department to have economic characteristics such as, but not limited to, a significant percentage of residents on public assistance, a significant percentage of residents with income below the poverty level, or a significant percentage of the city’s employment base in agriculture-related industries.
(p) “Rural community” means:
1. A county having a population of 75,000 or fewer.
2. A county having a population of 125,000 or fewer that is contiguous to a county having a population of 75,000 or fewer.
3. A municipality within a county described in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2.
For purposes of this paragraph, population shall be determined in accordance with the most recent official estimate pursuant to s. 186.901.
(q) “Target industry business” means a corporate headquarters business or any business that is engaged in one of the target industries identified pursuant to the following criteria developed by the department in consultation with Enterprise Florida, Inc.:
1. Future growth.—Industry forecasts should indicate strong expectation for future growth in both employment and output, according to the most recent available data. Special consideration should be given to businesses that export goods to, or provide services in, international markets and businesses that replace domestic and international imports of goods or services.
2. Stability.—The industry should not be subject to periodic layoffs, whether due to seasonality or sensitivity to volatile economic variables such as weather. The industry should also be relatively resistant to recession, so that the demand for products of this industry is not typically subject to decline during an economic downturn.
3. High wage.—The industry should pay relatively high wages compared to statewide or area averages.
4. Market and resource independent.—The location of industry businesses should not be dependent on Florida markets or resources as indicated by industry analysis, except for businesses in the renewable energy industry.
5. Industrial base diversification and strengthening.—The industry should contribute toward expanding or diversifying the state’s or area’s economic base, as indicated by analysis of employment and output shares compared to national and regional trends. Special consideration should be given to industries that strengthen regional economies by adding value to basic products or building regional industrial clusters as indicated by industry analysis. Special consideration should also be given to the development of strong industrial clusters that include defense and homeland security businesses.
6. Positive economic impact.—The industry is expected to have strong positive economic impacts on or benefits to the state or regional economies. Special consideration should be given to industries that facilitate the development of the state as a hub for domestic and global trade and logistics.
The term does not include any business engaged in retail industry activities; any electrical utility company as defined in s. 366.02(2); any phosphate or other solid minerals severance, mining, or processing operation; any oil or gas exploration or production operation; or any business subject to regulation by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Any business within NAICS code 5611 or 5614, office administrative services and business support services, respectively, may be considered a target industry business only after the local governing body and Enterprise Florida, Inc., make a determination that the community where the business may locate has conditions affecting the fiscal and economic viability of the local community or area, including but not limited to, factors such as low per capita income, high unemployment, high underemployment, and a lack of year-round stable employment opportunities, and such conditions may be improved by the location of such a business to the community. By January 1 of every 3rd year, beginning January 1, 2011, the department, in consultation with Enterprise Florida, Inc., economic development organizations, the State University System, local governments, employee and employer organizations, market analysts, and economists, shall review and, as appropriate, revise the list of such target industries and submit the list to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(r) “Taxable year” means taxable year as defined in s. 220.03(1)(y). (3) TAX REFUND; ELIGIBLE AMOUNTS.—
(a) There shall be allowed, from the account, a refund to a qualified target industry business for the amount of eligible taxes certified by the department that were paid by the business. The total amount of refunds for all fiscal years for each qualified target industry business must be determined pursuant to subsection (4). The annual amount of a refund to a qualified target industry business must be determined pursuant to subsection (6).
(b)1. Upon approval by the department, a qualified target industry business shall be allowed tax refund payments equal to $3,000 multiplied by the number of jobs specified in the tax refund agreement under subparagraph (5)(a)1., or equal to $6,000 multiplied by the number of jobs if the project is located in a rural community or an enterprise zone.
2. A qualified target industry business shall be allowed additional tax refund payments equal to $1,000 multiplied by the number of jobs specified in the tax refund agreement under subparagraph (5)(a)1. if such jobs pay an annual average wage of at least 150 percent of the average private sector wage in the area, or equal to $2,000 multiplied by the number of jobs if such jobs pay an annual average wage of at least 200 percent of the average private sector wage in the area.
3. A qualified target industry business shall be allowed tax refund payments in addition to the other payments authorized in this paragraph equal to $1,000 multiplied by the number of jobs specified in the tax refund agreement under subparagraph (5)(a)1. if the local financial support is equal to that of the state’s incentive award under subparagraph 1.
4. In addition to the other tax refund payments authorized in this paragraph, a qualified target industry business shall be allowed a tax refund payment equal to $2,000 multiplied by the number of jobs specified in the tax refund agreement under subparagraph (5)(a)1. if the business: a. Falls within one of the high-impact sectors designated under s. 288.108; or
b. Increases exports of its goods through a seaport or airport in the state by at least 10 percent in value or tonnage in each of the years that the business receives a tax refund under this section. For purposes of this sub-subparagraph, seaports in the state are limited to the ports of Jacksonville, Tampa, Port Everglades, Miami, Port Canaveral, Ft. Pierce, Palm Beach, Port Manatee, Port St. Joe, Panama City, St. Petersburg, Pensacola, Fernandina, and Key West.
1(c) A qualified target industry business may not receive refund payments of more than 25 percent of the total tax refunds specified in the tax refund agreement under subparagraph (5)(a)1. in any fiscal year. Further, a qualified target industry business may not receive more than $1.5 million in refunds under this section in any single fiscal year, or more than $2.5 million in any single fiscal year if the project is located in an enterprise zone. A qualified target industry business may not receive more than $7 million in refund payments under this section in all fiscal years, or more than $7.5 million if the project is located in an enterprise zone. 1(d) After entering into a tax refund agreement under subsection (5), a qualified target industry business may: 1. Receive refunds from the account for the following taxes due and paid by that business beginning with the first taxable year of the business that begins after entering into the agreement:
a. Corporate income taxes under chapter 220.
b. Insurance premium tax under s. 624.509. 2. Receive refunds from the account for the following taxes due and paid by that business after entering into the agreement:
a. Taxes on sales, use, and other transactions under chapter 212.
b. Intangible personal property taxes under chapter 199.
c. Excise taxes on documents under chapter 201.
d. Ad valorem taxes paid, as defined in s. 220.03(1). e. State communications services taxes administered under chapter 202. This provision does not apply to the gross receipts tax imposed under chapter 203 and administered under chapter 202 or the local communications services tax authorized under s. 202.19.
(e) However, a qualified target industry business may not receive a refund under this section for any amount of credit, refund, or exemption previously granted to that business for any of the taxes listed in paragraph (d). If a refund for such taxes is provided by the department, which taxes are subsequently adjusted by the application of any credit, refund, or exemption granted to the qualified target industry business other than as provided in this section, the business shall reimburse the account for the amount of that credit, refund, or exemption. A qualified target industry business shall notify and tender payment to the department within 20 days after receiving any credit, refund, or exemption other than one provided in this section.
(f) Refunds made available under this section may not be expended in connection with the relocation of a business from one community to another community in the state unless the department determines that, without such relocation, the business will move outside the state or determines that the business has a compelling economic rationale for relocation and that the relocation will create additional jobs.
(g) A qualified target industry business that fraudulently claims a refund under this section:
1. Is liable for repayment of the amount of the refund to the account, plus a mandatory penalty in the amount of 200 percent of the tax refund which shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
2. Commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. (4) APPLICATION AND APPROVAL PROCESS.— (a) To apply for certification as a qualified target industry business under this section, the business must file an application with the department before the business decides to locate in this state or before the business decides to expand its existing operations in this state. The application must include, but need not be limited to, the following information:
1. The applicant’s federal employer identification number and, if applicable, state sales tax registration number.
2. The proposed permanent location of the applicant’s facility in this state at which the project is to be located.
3. A description of the type of business activity or product covered by the project, including a minimum of a five-digit NAICS code for all activities included in the project. As used in this paragraph, “NAICS” means those classifications contained in the North American Industry Classification System, as published in 2007 by the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, and updated periodically.
4. The proposed number of net new full-time equivalent Florida jobs at the qualified target industry business as of December 31 of each year included in the project and the average wage of those jobs. If more than one type of business activity or product is included in the project, the number of jobs and average wage for those jobs must be separately stated for each type of business activity or product.
5. The total number of full-time equivalent employees employed by the applicant in this state, if applicable.
6. The anticipated commencement date of the project.
7. A brief statement explaining the role that the estimated tax refunds to be requested will play in the decision of the applicant to locate or expand in this state.
8. An estimate of the proportion of the sales resulting from the project that will be made outside this state.
9. An estimate of the proportion of the cost of the machinery and equipment, and any other resources necessary in the development of its product or service, to be used by the business in its Florida operations which will be purchased outside this state.
10. A resolution adopted by the governing board of the county or municipality in which the project will be located, which resolution recommends that the project be approved as a qualified target industry business and specifies that the commitments of local financial support necessary for the target industry business exist. Before the passage of such resolution, the department may also accept an official letter from an authorized local economic development agency that endorses the proposed target industry project and pledges that sources of local financial support for such project exist. For the purposes of making pledges of local financial support under this subparagraph, the authorized local economic development agency shall be officially designated by the passage of a one-time resolution by the local governing board.
11. Any additional information requested by the department.
(b) To qualify for review by the department, the application of a target industry business must, at a minimum, establish the following to the satisfaction of the department:
1.a. The jobs proposed to be created under the application, pursuant to subparagraph (a)4., must pay an estimated annual average wage equaling at least 115 percent of the average private sector wage in the area where the business is to be located or the statewide private sector average wage. The governing board of the local governmental entity providing the local financial support of the jurisdiction where the qualified target industry business is to be located shall notify the department and Enterprise Florida, Inc., which calculation of the average private sector wage in the area must be used as the basis for the business’s wage commitment. In determining the average annual wage, the department shall include only new proposed jobs, and wages for existing jobs shall be excluded from this calculation.
b. The department may waive the average wage requirement at the request of the local governing body recommending the project and Enterprise Florida, Inc. The department may waive the wage requirement for a project located in a brownfield area designated under s. 376.80, in a rural city, in a rural community, in an enterprise zone, or for a manufacturing project at any location in the state if the jobs proposed to be created pay an estimated annual average wage equaling at least 100 percent of the average private sector wage in the area where the business is to be located, only if the merits of the individual project or the specific circumstances in the community in relationship to the project warrant such action. If the local governing body and Enterprise Florida, Inc., make such a recommendation, it must be transmitted in writing, and the specific justification for the waiver recommendation must be explained. If the department elects to waive the wage requirement, the waiver must be stated in writing, and the reasons for granting the waiver must be explained.
2. The target industry business’s project must result in the creation of at least 10 jobs at the project and, in the case of an expansion of an existing business, must result in a net increase in employment of at least 10 percent at the business. At the request of the local governing body recommending the project and Enterprise Florida, Inc., the department may waive this requirement for a business in a rural community or enterprise zone if the merits of the individual project or the specific circumstances in the community in relationship to the project warrant such action. If the local governing body and Enterprise Florida, Inc., make such a request, the request must be transmitted in writing, and the specific justification for the request must be explained. If the department elects to grant the request, the grant must be stated in writing, and the reason for granting the request must be explained.
3. The business activity or product for the applicant’s project must be within an industry identified by the department as a target industry business that contributes to the economic growth of the state and the area in which the business is located, that produces a higher standard of living for residents of this state in the new global economy, or that can be shown to make an equivalent contribution to the area’s and state’s economic progress.
(c) Each application meeting the requirements of paragraph (b) must be submitted to the department for determination of eligibility. The department shall review and evaluate each application based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:
1. Expected contributions to the state’s economy, consistent with the state strategic economic development plan prepared by the department.
2. The economic benefits of the proposed award of tax refunds under this section and the economic benefits of state incentives proposed for the project. The term “economic benefits” has the same meaning as in s. 288.005. The Office of Economic and Demographic Research shall review and evaluate the methodology and model used to calculate the economic benefits and shall report its findings by September 1 of every 3rd year, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
3. The amount of capital investment to be made by the applicant in this state.
4. The local financial commitment and support for the project.
5. The effect of the project on the unemployment rate in the county where the project will be located.
6. The effect of the award on the viability of the project and the probability that the project would be undertaken in this state if such tax refunds are granted to the applicant.
7. The expected long-term commitment of the applicant to economic growth and employment in this state resulting from the project.
8. A review of the business’s past activities in this state or other states, including whether such business has been subjected to criminal or civil fines and penalties. This subparagraph does not require the disclosure of confidential information.
(d) Applications shall be reviewed and certified pursuant to s. 288.061. The department shall include in its review projections of the tax refunds the business would be eligible to receive in each fiscal year based on the creation and maintenance of the net new Florida jobs specified in subparagraph (a)4. as of December 31 of the preceding state fiscal year. If appropriate, the department shall enter into a written agreement with the qualified target industry business pursuant to subsection (5). (e) The department may not certify any target industry business as a qualified target industry business if the value of tax refunds to be included in that letter of certification exceeds the available amount of authority to certify new businesses as determined in s. 288.095(3). However, if the commitments of local financial support represent less than 20 percent of the eligible tax refund payments, or to otherwise preserve the viability and fiscal integrity of the program, the department may certify a qualified target industry business to receive tax refund payments of less than the allowable amounts specified in paragraph (3)(b). A letter of certification that approves an application must specify the maximum amount of tax refund that will be available to the qualified industry business in each fiscal year and the total amount of tax refunds that will be available to the business for all fiscal years.
(f) Notwithstanding paragraph (2)(j), the department may reduce the local financial support requirements of this section by one-half for a qualified target industry business located in Bay County, Escambia County, Franklin County, Gadsden County, Gulf County, Jefferson County, Leon County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Wakulla County, or Walton County, if the department determines that such reduction of the local financial support requirements is in the best interest of the state and facilitates economic development, growth, or new employment opportunities in such county. This paragraph expires June 30, 2014.
(g) This section does not create a presumption that an applicant will receive any tax refunds under this section. However, the department may issue nonbinding opinion letters, upon the request of prospective applicants, as to the applicants’ eligibility and the potential amount of refunds.
(5) TAX REFUND AGREEMENT.— (a) Each qualified target industry business must enter into a written agreement with the department that specifies, at a minimum:
1. The total number of full-time equivalent jobs in this state that will be dedicated to the project, the average wage of those jobs, the definitions that will apply for measuring the achievement of these terms during the pendency of the agreement, and a time schedule or plan for when such jobs will be in place and active in this state.
2. The maximum amount of tax refunds that the qualified target industry business is eligible to receive on the project and the maximum amount of a tax refund that the qualified target industry business is eligible to receive for each fiscal year, based on the job creation and maintenance schedule specified in subparagraph 1.
3. That the department may review and verify the financial and personnel records of the qualified target industry business to ascertain whether that business is in compliance with this section.
4. The date by which, in each fiscal year, the qualified target industry business may file a claim under subsection (6) to be considered to receive a tax refund in the following fiscal year.
5. That local financial support will be annually available and will be paid to the account. The department may not enter into a written agreement with a qualified target industry business if the local financial support resolution is not passed by the local governing body within 90 days after the department has issued the letter of certification under subsection (4).
6. That the department may conduct a review of the business to evaluate whether the business is continuing to contribute to the area’s or state’s economy.
7. That in the event the business does not complete the agreement, the business will provide the department with the reasons the business was unable to complete the agreement.
(b) Compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreement is a condition precedent for the receipt of a tax refund each year. The failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the tax refund agreement results in the loss of eligibility for receipt of all tax refunds previously authorized under this section and the revocation by the department of the certification of the business entity as a qualified target industry business, unless the business is eligible to receive and elects to accept a prorated refund under paragraph (6)(e) or the department grants the business an economic recovery extension.
1. A qualified target industry business may submit a request to the department for an economic recovery extension. The request must provide quantitative evidence demonstrating how negative economic conditions in the business’s industry, the effects of a named hurricane or tropical storm, or specific acts of terrorism affecting the qualified target industry business have prevented the business from complying with the terms and conditions of its tax refund agreement.
2. Upon receipt of a request under subparagraph 1., the department has 45 days to notify the requesting business, in writing, whether its extension has been granted or denied. In determining whether an extension should be granted, the department shall consider the extent to which negative economic conditions in the requesting business’s industry have occurred in the state or the effects of a named hurricane or tropical storm or specific acts of terrorism affecting the qualified target industry business have prevented the business from complying with the terms and conditions of its tax refund agreement. The department shall consider current employment statistics for this state by industry, including whether the business’s industry had substantial job loss during the prior year, when determining whether an extension shall be granted.
3. As a condition for receiving a prorated refund under paragraph (6)(e) or an economic recovery extension under this paragraph, a qualified target industry business must agree to renegotiate its tax refund agreement with the department to, at a minimum, ensure that the terms of the agreement comply with current law and the department’s procedures governing application for and award of tax refunds. Upon approving the award of a prorated refund or granting an economic recovery extension, the department shall renegotiate the tax refund agreement with the business as required by this subparagraph. When amending the agreement of a business receiving an economic recovery extension, the department may extend the duration of the agreement for a period not to exceed 2 years.
4. A qualified target industry business may submit a request for an economic recovery extension to the department in lieu of any tax refund claim scheduled to be submitted after January 1, 2009, but before July 1, 2012.
5. A qualified target industry business that receives an economic recovery extension may not receive a tax refund for the period covered by the extension.
(c) The agreement must be signed by the executive director and by an authorized officer of the qualified target industry business within 120 days after the issuance of the letter of certification under subsection (4), but not before passage and receipt of the resolution of local financial support. The department may grant an extension of this period at the written request of the qualified target industry business.
(d) The agreement must contain the following legend, clearly printed on its face in bold type of not less than 10 points in size: “This agreement is not a general obligation of the State of Florida, nor is it backed by the full faith and credit of the State of Florida. Payment of tax refunds is conditioned on and subject to specific annual appropriations by the Florida Legislature sufficient to pay amounts authorized in section 288.106, Florida Statutes.” (6) ANNUAL CLAIM FOR REFUND.—
(a) To be eligible to claim any scheduled tax refund, a qualified target industry business that has entered into a tax refund agreement with the department under subsection (5) must apply by January 31 of each fiscal year to the department for the tax refund scheduled to be paid from the appropriation for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 following the January 31 claims-submission date. The department may, upon written request, grant a 30-day extension of the filing date.
(b) The claim for refund by the qualified target industry business must include a copy of all receipts pertaining to the payment of taxes for which the refund is sought and data related to achievement of each performance item specified in the tax refund agreement. The amount requested as a tax refund may not exceed the amount specified for the relevant fiscal year in that agreement.
(c) The department may waive the requirement for proof of taxes paid in future years for a qualified target industry business that provides the department with proof that, in a single year, the business has paid an amount of state taxes from the categories in paragraph (3)(d) which is at least equal to the total amount of tax refunds that the business may receive through successful completion of its tax refund agreement.
(d) A tax refund may not be approved for a qualified target industry business unless the required local financial support has been paid into the account for that refund. If the local financial support provided is less than 20 percent of the approved tax refund, the tax refund must be reduced. In no event may the tax refund exceed an amount that is equal to 5 times the amount of the local financial support received. Further, funding from local sources includes any tax abatement granted to that business under s. 196.1995 or the appraised market value of municipal or county land conveyed or provided at a discount to that business. The amount of any tax refund for such business approved under this section must be reduced by the amount of any such tax abatement granted or the value of the land granted, and the limitations in subsection (3) and paragraph (4)(e) must be reduced by the amount of any such tax abatement or the value of the land granted. A report listing all sources of the local financial support shall be provided to the department when such support is paid to the account. (e) A prorated tax refund, less a 5 percent penalty, shall be approved for a qualified target industry business if all other applicable requirements have been satisfied and the business proves to the satisfaction of the department that:
1. It has achieved at least 80 percent of its projected employment; and
2. The average wage paid by the business is at least 90 percent of the average wage specified in the tax refund agreement, but in no case less than 115 percent of the average private sector wage in the area available at the time of certification, or 150 percent or 200 percent of the average private sector wage if the business requested the additional per-job tax refund authorized in paragraph (3)(b) for wages above those levels. The prorated tax refund shall be calculated by multiplying the tax refund amount for which the qualified target industry business would have been eligible, if all applicable requirements had been satisfied, by the percentage of the average employment specified in the tax refund agreement which was achieved, and by the percentage of the average wages specified in the tax refund agreement which was achieved.
(f) The department, with such assistance as may be required from the Department of Revenue, shall, by June 30 following the scheduled date for submission of the tax refund claim, specify by written order the approval or disapproval of the tax refund claim and, if approved, the amount of the tax refund that is authorized to be paid to the qualified target industry business for the annual tax refund. The department may grant an extension of this date on the request of the qualified target industry business for the purpose of filing additional information in support of the claim.
(g) The total amount of tax refund claims approved by the department under this section in any fiscal year must not exceed the amount authorized under s. 288.095(3).
(h) This section does not create a presumption that a tax refund claim will be approved and paid.
(i) Upon approval of the tax refund under paragraphs (d), (e), and (f), the Chief Financial Officer shall issue a warrant for the amount specified in the written order. If the written order is appealed, the Chief Financial Officer may not issue a warrant for a refund to the qualified target industry business until the conclusion of all appeals of that order.
(a) The department may verify information provided in any claim submitted for tax credits under this section with regard to employment and wage levels or the payment of the taxes to the appropriate agency or authority, including the Department of Revenue or any local government or authority.
(b) To facilitate the process of monitoring and auditing applications made under this section, the department may provide a list of qualified target industry businesses to the Department of Revenue or to any local government or authority. The department may request the assistance of those entities with respect to monitoring jobs, wages, and the payment of the taxes listed in subsection (3).
(c) Funds specifically appropriated for tax refunds for qualified target industry businesses under this section may not be used by the department for any purpose other than the payment of tax refunds authorized by this section.
(d) Beginning with tax refund agreements signed after July 1, 2010, the department shall attempt to ascertain the causes for any business’s failure to complete its agreement and shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report shall be submitted by December 1 of each year beginning in 2011.
(8) SPECIAL INCENTIVES.—If the department determines it is in the best interest of the public for reasons of facilitating economic development, growth, or new employment opportunities within a Disproportionally Affected County, the department may, between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2014, waive any or all wage or local financial support eligibility requirements and allow a qualified target industry business from another state which relocates all or a portion of its business to a Disproportionally Affected County to receive a tax refund payment of up to $6,000 multiplied by the number of jobs specified in the tax refund agreement under subparagraph (5)(a)1. over the term of the agreement. Prior to granting such waiver, the executive director of the department shall file with the Governor a written statement of the conditions and circumstances constituting the reason for the waiver. Such business shall be eligible for the additional tax refund payments specified in subparagraph (3)(b)4. if it meets the criteria. As used in this section, the term “Disproportionally Affected County” means Bay County, Escambia County, Franklin County, Gulf County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Walton County, or Wakulla County.
(9) EXPIRATION.—An applicant may not be certified as qualified under this section after June 30, 2020. A tax refund agreement existing on that date shall continue in effect in accordance with its terms.