Florida Tax Break For Fancy Yacht People Will Create All The Jobs, You Betcha
The Florida Legislature is doing its part to prove that tax cuts always equal jobs -- like this brand new tax cut package that limits the amount of sales tax on yacht repairs over $1 million. No, that's not on boats that cost more than a million, that's boat repairs that cost more than a million bucks. It's the Florida Legislature, doing what it does best: favors.
Hidden away among a whole bunch of other tax cuts was this nifty little gift to owners of megayachts, and/or to whatever Florida businesses do repairs on the things -- we'll go out on a limb and predict that the luxury-yacht repair facility industry is not a major segment in Florida's economy, but there is a Florida legislator who knows a guy who golfs with a guy who owns Obscene MegaBoat Repairs R Us, and that's how that little provision made it into the bill: for boat repairs over a million dollars, the maximum tax is capped at $60,000.
Orlando Democratic state Sen. Geraldine Thompson wasn't too pleased with the special favor to bajillionaires, arguing during debate Monday,
There are many people in my district who own boats, but none of them own boats where they would have repairs over a million dollars. In fact, the boat itself would not be worth a million dollars.
And so a part of this tax package limits repairs on boats -- really yachts -- to $60,000, but if you're a small person and you have a small boat, you’re going to have to pay these taxes. But if you have a yacht and the repairs on your yacht are over a million dollars then it’s capped at $60,000.
Well, yes, but isn't that the point? Thompson noted that as things stand, "the lower income person pays a higher proportion of their earnings already in taxes" than do rich people, but as we all know, that is really an excellent incentive for people with lower incomes to become rich. This Geraldine Thompson sounds like some kind of class warfare advocate!
State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater, who added the provision to the tax package, opened up his Republican Hymnal and sang a selection from the Psalm Of Supply-Side, explaining that tons of great benefits would trickle down from the tax break on yacht repairs, even in dry docks. He noted that the low-income community of Riviera Beach, in Palm Beach County, was already benefiting, because "one of their biggest industries ... is a company that does yacht repairs." Latvala went on:
Yeah, these are big yachts. But these are also yachts that go all over the country, all over the world. And they can get the repairs done in South Carolina or Georgia or North Carolina just by paying for the fuel to get up there [...]
So this provision ... is not about saving millionaires money, it’s about getting jobs for people who aren’t millionaires. It's about building up an industry here in Florida to do that kind of work and taking away the competitive disadvantage that those industries have right now with similar companies... it's about jobs.
And darned if he isn't right -- there is a bigass company in Riviera Beach named Rybovich, owned by Wayne Huizenga Jr, the son of the guy who used to own the Miami Dolphins, and it managed to bully its way into a sweetheart deal that took over what had been a public marina so it could build a $45 million megayacht-servicing facility. Lots of money coming into the community! And jobs, too! How many jobs?
40 of them, according to the Palm Beach Post. And the repair tax break is on top of other incentives ladled out to Rybovich, which also dabbles in real estate development and is not exactly hurting. But you know, hey, 40 jobs. Maybe a lot more! Not for unskilled laborers, of course -- these are craftsmen, after all, and you don't want some low-wage slob working on your superyacht. But somewhere down the line, some truck drivers and forklift operators will be needed too, so it's well worth pandering to the super-rich, who'll take their toys elsewhere to get them serviced if there's more than $60K tax on any repairs over a million bucks.
In completely unrelated news, the Florida Legislature once again killed Medicaid expansion, because the state simply can't afford to give away health care to people who are too lazy to own yachts.
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