Senate, House support sales tax exemption for manufacturing equipment

Dania Maxwell/Staff
President of Pelican Wire Company, Theodore Bill, center, gives Gov. Rick Scott, left, a tour of the company on Friday, April 19, 2013 in Naples, Fla. Gov. Scott is at the business for a press conference to announce that the state unemployment rate has dropped to 7.5 percent and more than 32,000 private-sector jobs were created last month.

Photo by DANIA MAXWELL // Buy this photo

Dania Maxwell/Staff President of Pelican Wire Company, Theodore Bill, center, gives Gov. Rick Scott, left, a tour of the company on Friday, April 19, 2013 in Naples, Fla. Gov. Scott is at the business for a press conference to announce that the state unemployment rate has dropped to 7.5 percent and more than 32,000 private-sector jobs were created last month.

TALLAHASSEE _ New manufacturing equipment could soon be exempt from sales tax.

The state Senate on Wednesday approved an amendment that exempts certain manufacturing equipment from the state’s sales tax. The amendment was tacked on to House bill 7007, which deals with economic incentives.

The Senate passed the full House bill 37-3.

Both Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, voted for the bill. Richter spoke on the Senate floor during the debate about how Arthrex, a Southwest Florida medical manufacturing company, was an example of why manufacturing tax cuts are important.

“It’s important to communities like Naples that have manufacturing entities that produce a product and distribute a product, like in the case of Arthrex, around the world,” Richter said following the vote.

The amendment provides a three-year tax exemption on new manufacturing equipment. The provision would sunset in April 2017.

Eliminating the manufacturing sales tax has been a priority for Republican Gov. Rick Scott, of Naples, this legislative session. After the Senate amended the bill, it went to the House, where it was approved Wednesday night, according to the News Service of Florida.

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