Florida revenues rise in the wake of sales tax cap
By Jeff Erdmann, Florida Yacht Brokers Association
October 15, 2013
Filed under Features
As the national debate over the federal government’s shutdown heats up, the state of Florida can point to some success in raising revenue as well as preserving and creating jobs in the boating industry in the wake of landmark bi-partisan legislation enacted during the depths of the Great Recession.
The number of larger recreational vessels registered in the state has jumped substantially since mid-2010 following passage of a new law placing an $18,000 sales-and-use-tax cap on boats purchased or brought into Florida. Research conducted by the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) in 2009 indicated that the state was losing revenues and Florida’s marine industry was losing business to nearby states and foreign countries with lower or no sales taxes at all.
According to a recent analysis of Florida boat registrations from 2000 to 2012 by FYBA, the number of 65’ to 109’11” yachts registered increased 28 percent from 807 in 2010 to 1,032 in 2012, while the number of yachts over 110’ increased by 7 percent.
“These increases in the number of larger vessels registered are especially significant as the number of boats registered under 65’ actually declined during the same period,” said Jeff Erdmann, chairman of the FYBA Public Affairs Committee.
In testimony before the Florida Legislature in 2009 Erdmann had argued that the state’s existing six percent sales-and-use-tax was keeping larger vessels out of the state and away from its $17 billion marine industry that employed over 200,000 Floridians hard hit by the recession.
“With superyacht expenses averaging $4.75 million per year for everything from fuel to crew salaries to maintenance and repair, increasing their presence in Florida’s waters was a top priority of this legislation,” said Erdmann, adding that the number of vessels 110’ and longer registered in the state is on the rise for the first time since falling steadily since 2007.
“The bottom line is the state took a chance on the marine industry and these statistics clearly demonstrate that the marine industry has added to the bottom line of the state,” said Erdmann.