In Florida, yacht abandonment and repossessions are on the rise but wealthy boat owners may soon get a bit of tax relief. The Miami Herald reports that state legislators are considering a tax break on boats and planes. A bill currently moving through the Florida legislature called the Aviation and Maritime Full Employment Act would cap the sales tax on boats and planes at $25,000.
It is hoped that the bill would stimulate the economy by creating jobs. Currently many rich people avoid the sales tax by buying their expensive planes and yachts elsewhere and storing them in other states or registering them in the Cayman Islands and other places. These actions cost the state not just tax revenue but it makes it less likely that the owner will buy other related services in Florida. The Herald quotes Republican Representative Tom Grady who says: "Someone might want to beat up the rich. I don't. Anybody with capital to invest in the state of Florida, where jobs can be created, I want them here. I want their money here."
Others are saying the tax break is outrageous especially at a time when the state is contemplating raising the price of licenses and other fees that would affect a broader swath of the population. The cap could cost the the state $8.1 million annually and local government could lose $1.1 million. No number for the potential economic gain from the new bill has been forecast.