One of the great long-term lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that working from home is clearly the way of the future. Across Florida, countless business owners have learned that in this era of readily available communications technology, the notion that businesses must have traditional office space is a relic of bygone days.
Florida lawmakers agree, and we hope the Governor will, too.
In the Session that just ended, legislators passed measures to boost home-based business. The legislation removes outdated and unnecessary barriers to conducting business from home and encourages entrepreneurs to start new businesses. This will go a long way toward giving Florida the economic boost we all need.
Legislators wisely removed the requirement for new or small businesses to establish traditional office space in order to operate in Florida. They recognized that this antiquated requirement increases the cost of doing business and stifles economic growth. Since it is now so abundantly clear that many businesses and employees can thrive regardless of where they’re located, why force businesses to maintain traditional office space that merely increases their overhead?
Under current law, some local governments in Florida have enacted ordinances specifically regulating home-based businesses, including some that limit the type of business that may be carried on at a residence or that regulate the space in which business may occur. House Bill 403 says local governments can’t adopt or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or policy that treats home-based businesses differently than other businesses, as long as other local ordinances and zoning restrictions are met.
This change will lower the cost of creating or maintaining a small business by dropping the requirement for potentially expensive and unnecessary office space. At a time when the Florida economy has had to take a step back due to COVID-19, this is an excellent way to encourage entrepreneurs to start more businesses or continue paying existing workers, all of which provides an economic and employment boost to the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis should sign this common-sense home-based business legislation into law — a move that will undoubtedly spur job growth and stimulate the economy.
If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that brick-and-mortar office space isn’t as essential as we once thought. So let’s emerge from this pandemic taking positive lessons with us. Let’s support home-based businesses, which could become a more important part of the economic engine driving Florida. We should let entrepreneurs direct the resources where they need it most — into growing their businesses and creating jobs. For many, that may now mean avoiding the cost of unnecessary office space.
Cutting unnecessary, burdensome, and expensive red tape for Florida’s small business is the right thing to do — not just for businesses, but for the overall economy. And that benefits all of us.
Skylar Zander is the Florida director for Americans for Prosperity.