President of Bradford Marine, Paul Engle shared to me that the new legislation will bring a flurry of new activity for the region, meaning further growth for the American market. "It is anticipated that we will gain some new customers from overseas, and new business from existing customers that will decide to complete larger projects in the state of Florida instead of returning to their home ports" he commented.
The news comes following the 2011 decision to implement a sales tax cap in the state at USD $18,000. Cromwell Littlejohn, broker at Northop & Johnson explained the monumental impact this had on the industry. "We saw a tenfold increase in tax collected over the previous year, while creating an atmosphere that encouraged yachts to remain in the state rather than the previous norm of requiring many of the yachts purchased in Florida to depart the state, taking jobs and leaving a tremendous void in the berth where the economic footprint of a yacht once floated".
Adding meat to the bones of the industry, such data and proof of the economic impact that the industry continues to improve the name and image of yachting. As Littlejohn continues "early indicators suggest that the new legislation is working, with shipyards investing in more facilities, more equipment, and more workers". Sharing the need for the yacht industry to be seen for more than simply a playground for the ultra wealthy, Littlejohn hopes such tax incentives and their effects on local economy, will help to prove the value of the industry. "Yachts aren't simply an indulgence for the well-heeled, they are an economic engine that benefits Florida and its residents. Bringing more yachts in for refit means the knock-on effect is seen across the state, from the owners and crews visiting our restaurants, shopping in our stores, staying in our hotels and spending money for the duration of their visit."
With a number of yards based in the state, including Bradford Marine, Derecktor and Rybovich, the new legislation shows great promise for the state and the industry members represented there.