My name is Tiea Vincent and I'm the broker and owner of Roundtable Property Management. Every year, I take a day or two and go with the board of Realtors out to Tallahassee for Rally in Tally. Otherwise known as great American Realtors, Day's or Guard. So I want to go over with you today a couple of the items that we spoke to our legislators about, as well as what the trip includes. So on this trip, we all meet at the board of Realtors and we take a large bus out to Tallahassee. This is me in the back of the bus with all the cool kids. Well, at least that's where they hold the snacks. This year, the bus took us straight over to the capital where we had a luncheon and we met with Governor DeSantis. He went over all of his initiatives for 2020. The things that he's already got accomplished in the things he has in the works. That afternoon, we have a block party outside of the Capitol building where we get to mix and mingle with other realtors throughout the state of Florida and discuss the issues that they're seeing in their areas as well as ours.
The next day, we spend all day meeting with our local Senators and our local Representatives from our area discussing the talking points that are important to realtors and our customers. Oftentimes, we have to meet with them in their offices, but this year they had to meet most of us in different conference rooms throughout the Capitol because the group was so large. Here's a picture of me in one of those conference room meetings. I can assure you that I was much more entertained than I look like in this picture. Some of the talking points this year started with short term rentals and the current bill that's in the Senate and in the House to be passed to allow local governments to put regulations on short term rentals so long as they are fair and even to all residential properties. And it would also require short term rentals to register with the state of Florida.
The second talking point was about the sales tax on commercial rental properties. As you may know, Florida state is the only state in the nation that has a sales tax on their commercial rentals. In the last couple of years, we've been fighting for this to be decreased and we've been very successful having a point to decrease last year and a point to decrease the year before. Unfortunately, this year they're only going for a point, one decrease, which I believe is partially involved because they've up the budget for a couple of other of our initiatives. It's important that we get rid of the commercial sales tax because this will allow more businesses to move into our state. And the more businesses that move into our state, the more homeowners and tenants move into our state as well and increases the demand for homes.
Speaking of increasing the demand of homes, another one of the initiatives we talked about was the Sadowski Fund. This was a fund that was created back in the 90s for affordable housing and to help build affordable housing. In the last couple of years, the government has dipped their little fingers into that fund to fund other initiatives. What we're asking for is for them to keep that money in affordable housing and use it for just what is meant to be for, affordable housing. They're estimating somewhere around 5 million new people will be moving to Florida in the next couple of years and they're going to need housing. And right now, we're in a housing shortage. We need those funds to stay in the Sadowski Fund so that we can build houses that are affordable for new people to live in. Another item that affects a lot of us here in Florida, but not necessarily here in Jacksonville, is the blue green algae, red algae, whatever color algae it is, they're seeing it a lot in South Florida. We've asked in the last couple years that they fund research on what is causing this algae and cleanup of the waterways and the lakes and ponds and rivers. Why this affects you and even us here in Jacksonville is when people see on the news, red tide or green algae, they think, oh, I don't want to go there and vacation, but they don't think I don't want to go to South Florida. They think I don't want to go to Florida. And when they're thinking don't vacation in Florida are economic funding goes way down.
The last time I wanted to talk about something that's really important to me and that is the emotional service animal bill, let's in process right now. It's not to say that property managers don't want service animals or emotional support animals. I absolutely do want them. I think that they are very valuable and helpful to the people who need them. There are tons of military members out there and firefighters that have gone through traumatic events that need these animals. Problem is, we have a small few that are taking advantage of the loopholes in the system and they're giving the whole process a bad name and making it more difficult for the ones who actually need it. What we're asking for is the government to tighten the rules and regulations on what is considered an emotional support animal, and how that they can prove documentation. Right now, you can get online for $59.95 and print out a certified emotional support animal certificate for your potbelly pig and you don't actually need them. And that's what's giving it a bad rap. And the people who actually need these animals are having to jump through hoops because of all the rule breakers. Bottom line, we had a lot of fun in Tallahassee this year. We spoke to several of our Senators and our Representatives. They were all very open to what we had to say and willing to back us up. And we look forward to seeing them all next year and all new topics to come up.