Olive Garden Wants to Be Disney: Darden Restaurants is seeking one-of-a-kind tax break from FL Legislature
TALLAHASSEE — Darden Restaurants is lobbying the Florida Legislature for a tax break that would save the company as much as $5 million a year in sales taxes even as lawmakers weigh deep spending cuts to public schools, prisons and many other areas to cover a nearly $4 billion budget shortfall.
The Orlando-based owner of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants wants lawmakers to approve a measure that would expand the annual tax credits the company receives through a package of incentives it got to build a $152 million corporate headquarters that opened in September 2009 in Orange County.
The legislation is written so that Darden — a Fortune 500 company that generated $7.1 billion in global sales during its most recent fiscal year — would be the only business that could receive the expanded tax credits. The legislative sponsors include an influential Central Florida lawmaker, state Rep. Chris Dorworth, a Republican from Lake Mary who is tentatively in line to become speaker of the Florida House in 2014.
Darden on Tuesday cast the proposal as an economic-development measure that would motivate the company to continue investing capital in Florida. A spokesman said the company would use savings from the tax credits to pay for “continued restaurant expansion” in Florida, on top of the 209 restaurants it already has in the state.
THIS PIECE OF BS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED IN THE LEGISLATURE BEFORE IT EVEN GETS TO SCOTT. OF COURSE, SCOTT WOULD SIGN IT. HE’S NEVER SEEN A TAX CUT FOR THE WEALTHY, OR CORPORATIONS THAT HE DOESN’T LIKE!