Tax Breaks For Defense Contractors, Hurricane Sales Pass House Committee

Mar 7, 2014

Supporters argue the tax breaks help Florida compete for outside investment.
Credit Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Taxes on hurricane supplies and defense contractors interested in locating in Florida would be scuttled under bills that received a first hearing Thursday.

The state has inaugurated several sales tax “holidays” in recent years and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) wants to add another on hurricane preparedness supplies.

On Thursday, fellow House member John Tobia (R-Melbourne Beach) asked how much an average generator costs and how Gaetz chose to tax only those generators which cost more than $700.

“I’ve seen generators available in the $400-ish range, but I don’t buy as nice of products as you do, Representative Tobia,” Gaetz joked.

Gaetz’s bill passed easily. So too did a measure from Rep. Jimmie Smith (R-Inverness) nixing taxes charged to defense contractors considering locating their business in Florida.

“So we make ourselves more appetizing to the big contractors to use Florida or do we let the other states beat us to the punch,” Smith asked.

Committee members noted ending wars in the Middle East is causing a drawdown in troop levels and military spending, which Smith contends will sharpen competition for the spending that’s left and require more incentives from states to win contracts.