Manufacturing: Key to a More Competitive Florida

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Mark Wilson
April 30, 2014

Florida takes a major step forward today in its efforts to become more competitive when a long-overdue sales tax exemption on manufacturing and equipment takes effect.

For far too long, Florida has been at a competitive disadvantage by being the only state on the Atlantic seaboard and on the Gulf Coast to charge sales taxes on manufacturing equipment. As Florida’s trade and logistics industry grows, and prepares to take advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal, removing the manufacturing and equipment sales tax will help ensure Florida can take advantage of these opportunities, to double Florida-origin exports and create more high-skill, high-wage manufacturing jobs.

For the past few decades, Florida’s economy was reliant on the boom and bust of a few industries. When the business climate was favorable for those industries, Florida’s economy boomed. But the economic downturn highlighted the need to diversify Florida’s economy and help ensure it remains viable and stable regardless of a collapse in a given industry.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has taken a proactive approach toward preparing for the new economy. From positioning Florida as an economic development leader in targeted research and development industries, and aiding in the streamlining of Florida’s economic development processes, to taking advantage of our state’s once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Florida’s economy to become a global hub for trade, logistics and export-oriented manufacturing activities.

A strong and growing manufacturing base is important to Florida’s success. A look at Florida’s manufacturing horizon shows that we are making great strides:

  • 340,267 Floridians are employed in the manufacturing industry,
  • More than 95 percent of Florida’s exporters are small businesses,
  • Our state is home to more than 18,000 manufacturers,
  • The average annual manufacturing wage in Florida is $68,853, and
  • While the rest of Florida’s economy grew .5 percent from 2010-2011, Florida’s manufacturing industry grew 3.3 percent in that time.

As the Florida Chamber Foundation’s most recent Trade and Logistics Study shows, our state has the potential to create 150,000 new trade-related jobs – which are intricately linked to manufacturing – by implementing recommendations outlined in its report. Our commitment toward trade and manufacturing success recently led us to open a trade and manufacturing office in Miami.

Our partners at the Manufacturers Association of Florida (MAF) play a leading role in achieving these goals.

“Manufacturers in Florida are in a perfect position to excel in international trade, and we want to fill up all of those cargo containers so that every one of them leaving Florida is full,” said Nancy Stephens, MAFs Executive Director.

With the manufacturing and equipment sales tax exemption now in effect, Florida embarks on new opportunities to further grow the industry and our state’s economy. The Florida Chamber thanks Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Legislature and our manufacturing partners for their support in making Florida more competitive.

Moving forward, the Florida Chamber will continue to champion its competitiveness agenda to create a more secure Florida. Join our growing team of economic development champions by contacting gblose@flchamber.com.

News Source : Manufacturing: Key to a More Competitive Florida
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