Gov. Scott seeks elimination of sales tax for manufacturing equipment


Contending the measure will boost manufacturing jobs, Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday he will push for the removal of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment.

“Florida’s current policy puts our state at a competitive disadvantage because most states do not force manufacturers to pay taxes on the purchase of equipment or require them to adhere to regulations for tax exemptions. In order to build up our manufacturing jobs in Florida, we must remove these barriers to investment,” Scott said in a prepared statement.

Scott wants to eliminate the requirement for a 5 percent increase in production output for manufacturing companies to be exempted from the sales tax on industrial equipment. The Legislature already lowered the threshold from 10 percent to 5 percent this year. The move costs the state $46 million in recurring general revenue funds and costs local governments throughout the state $10.4 million in recurring funds, according to staff analysis of HB 7087, the omnibus tax break package passed by lawmakers.

The complete elimination of the production requirement will incentivize manufacturers to make capital investments and add more workers, Scott contends.

“Building up Florida manufacturing is about building up Florida jobs all across our state,” Scott said.

There are 314,800 manufacturing jobs in Florida as of November, according to the latest available data from the Department of Economic Opportunity. That’s an increase of 1,900 jobs over the year, but most of those jobs -- 1,700 of them -- were added in November.

Manufacturing jobs are also up from Scott's time in office, but still far off the peak of pre-recession levels. In December 2010, the month before Scott took office, manufacturing jobs stood at 309,300, a significant decline from the 388,100 manufacturing jobs in December 2007, when Florida first began to experience negative economic headwinds.

Scott is also hoping increased incentives for job training will attract manufacturers to Florida. He's pushing for the Legislature to double the amount of incentives available under the Quick Response Training program to $12 million this year.


by: Gray Rohrer, 01/09/2013 - 11:01 AM




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