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Roundup: No taxes on small business loans, Publix adds digital payments, Scott donates pay

Margie Manning



Photo by Tyler Franta on Unsplash

Today’s roundup includes news about Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Publix Super Markets, Sound Payments, Sen. Rick Scott and USF Health.

Small businesses that get loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program won’t have to pay a documentary stamp tax on those loans in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Monday morning, suspending assessment and collection of those taxes as long as the current state of emergency is in place.

Florida levies a documentary stamp tax of 35 cents per $100 in value on any certificate of indebtedness or promissory note, up to $2,450. Collecting that tax now may diminish the effectiveness of the new federal loans, the Florida Chamber of Commerce wrote in an April 2 letter to DeSantis.

It’s in the best interest of the state to encourage small businesses in Florida, and requiring payments of the tax could discourage small businesses from applying for the loans, DeSantis wrote in his executive order.

Publix Super Markets has added Apple Pay, Google Pay and other contactless payment options.

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A contactless payment is made by placing a smartphone or contactless pay-enabled credit or debit card near a contactless-enabled device, rather than swiping or inserting a card into the PIN pad.

“In these unprecedented times, we recognized the need to make our customers’ trips to our stores faster and more efficient,” Todd Jones, Publix CEO, said in a news release. “By expediting this payment option, we will help customers reduce contact with commonly used surfaces like PIN pads.”

Publix also has a mobile pay option through the Publix app.

Sound Payments, a Jacksonville-based tech firm with a new office in St. Petersburg, also is doing its part to support social distancing guidelines. The company, with technology designed to stop payment fraud at the gas station pump, just won a 2020 Visa U.S. Qualified Tap to Pay Point of Sale Program Award for offering an optimal tap to pay point of sale experience. Sound Payments also said it is waiving point-of-sale service fees for three months for its existing merchant customers and new merchants added in April.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, said he will donate his first quarter Senate salary to the University of South Florida Health’s new Pandemic Research and Response Fund to support response and training efforts, research, and the continued production of 3-D printed supplies for coronavirus testing.


The new fund launched last week with a $25,000 gift from Tampa philanthropist Mary Pipino.

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