Report from Tallahassee May 5, 2014
The 2014 session in Tallahassee was filled with activity.
MIASF continued to lay the groundwork for a tax cap on repair service for large refit projects. Building on the success of the vessel sales tax cap which resulted in a large increase of vessels closing their sales in Florida and a significant increase to the state’s general revenue fund, the service cap would serve to provide the same benefit to the state coffers and a competitive edge to yards as they compete with other areas for the major refit work that is expected over the next decade do to the large number of vessels built from 1999 thru 2010. This cap would not benefit the boatyards alone but the hundreds of businesses which provide their services to supplement the boatyards in house services. This effort will continue as we prepare for the 2015 session.
A last minute amendment to a FWC anchorage bill caused a furor of calls in the last days of the session. The original bill was intended to expand a pilot program to uniform the regulations of anchoring throughout the state. The amendment would have given Miami Dade and Broward Counties the ability to write their own area specific rules. Public input resulted in the bill dying by the end of session.
While in Tallahassee, MAISF Executive Director, Phil Purcell attended a meeting of Florida’s Ocean Alliance (FOA). Phil was one of eight panelists four from the industry (others representing Ports, electric utilities and Tourism) plus four more from academia, to dig into the issues of promoting and attracting workers to jobs in businesses along the coasts.
The panel discussion was a result of last year’s release of the FOA report highlighting the importance of Florida’s coastal economy – including impact of the marine industry, fishing and recreation.
In its 2013 report, “Florida’s Oceans and Coasts: An Economic and Cluster Analysis,” FOA summarized that:
- Florida’s coastal counties contributed over $584 billion in gross regional product to Florida’s economy in 2010 or 79 percent of the state’s economy.
More than 228,000 jobs in Florida are directly created by activities that use ocean resources. When indirect effects are taken into account, the number of jobs supported by ocean resources exceeds 440,000.
According to a study by MIASF in 2010, the tri county area of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties contributed over 100,000 jobs to the state’s economy in fiscal year 2010, with wage income over $3 billion and nearly $9 billion in total output. Gross retail sales of boat and motor products were $3.5 billion statewide, with the tri county area accounting for 49 percent of those sales.
Adding in the boating related activities supported by the Fishing/Living Resources (there are over 2.4 million saltwater anglers in Florida, with total revenue topping $25 million from
recreational fishing license sales) and Recreation industries (saltwater beaches, saltwater fishing, saltwater boat ramps, wildlife viewing and nature study), the economic impact by the marine industry in for southeast Florida and the balance of state coastlines grows even greater.
The point of all these numbers and reports clearly underscores the importance of boating and fishing to the quality of life for the state’s residents and importance of the industries that serve them. To access the complete FOA report, go to www.floridaoceanalliance.org/documents/OceansDay2013/FLORIDAS_OCEANS_AND_COASTS_AN_ECONOMIC_AND_CLUSTER_ANALYSIS.pdf.