Wednesday morning on Channel 4, Gov. Rick Scott announced a plan he's calling Building Up Florida Manufacturing Jobs that would eliminate of taxes on the purchase of equipment to encourage manufacturing companies to grow in Florida.
After previewing the plan he calls "Building Up Florida Manufacturing Jobs" on The Morning Show, Scott formally announced the details at a news conference at Johnson and Johnson Vision Care in Jacksonville.
The governor said building up the state's manufacturing sector is critical to strengthening the state's economy because it creates stable jobs for Florida families.
"We have 17,500 manufacturing companies in Florida today that employ more than 300,000 Florida families," Scott said. "In the upcoming legislative session, we are committed to building up Florida manufacturing jobs by eliminating the tax barriers on companies who purchase equipment."
Scott said Florida's current policy puts Florida 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.
He said barriers to investment for manufacturers must be removed. When manufacturers purchase equipment in Florida, the governor said they are investing in Florida workers for years to come.
"We want more manufacturers to move to Florida, and our existing manufacturing companies to buy the equipment they need to grow and create more jobs to support Florida families," Scott said.
Scott said eliminating the barriers on investment for the Florida manufacturing industry will also benefit the ports and the many small businesses that support manufacturers.
Manufacturing accounts for almost 90 percent of Florida exports that depend on the state's ports. Small businesses make up nearly 96 percent of the state's exporting firms and produce 67 percent of the state's total exports.
"In this state right now this month will be creating about $40 million in sales tax revenue from our manufacturing," said Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville. "If we increase that base, we'll increase the sales tax and increase jobs and create opportunities for all of us citizens in the state of Florida."
Scott said Building Up Florida Manufacturing is about increasing the number of jobs and businesses across the state.
"We've got to make this the place if a company is thinking about locating, expanding, they are thinking about the No. 1 great state of Florida," Scott said.
The governor will propose legislation this session to fully eliminate the "productive output" requirement, currently at 5 percent, required for businesses to receive a sales tax exemption on equipment. He would like the change implemented July 1.
The governor said his commitment to Building Up Florida Manufacturing Jobs will also utilize Quick Response Training (QRT) funding to train workers to transition from other sectors of the economy, such as construction, into manufacturing.
In November, Scott announced that he would work with the Legislature to double QRT funding to $12 million.