Sorry boaters. Bye-bye marine tax holiday.by Dara Kam | March 11th, 2011
A proposed three-month tax holiday in the Panhandle for marine-related goods – including boats – is off the table.
The tax holiday was stripped by Niceville Republican Sen. Don Gaetz, the sponsor of a package (SB 248) aimed at giving an economic boost to the seven Northwest Florida counties hard hit by last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil gusher.
The proposed tax break would have saved taxpayers more than $15 million next year, according to a Senate staff analysis of the measure.
If approved by lawmakers and the governor, the Panhandle will get $10 million next year to help the region diversify its tourism- and military-based economy, with another $20 million over the next two years.
But even that money won’t go as far as the bill originally intended.
At the request of Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat who was out sick during the meeting, Gaetz offered an amendment to add Wakulla County to the list of seven counties – Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton – the money is earmarked for.
The measure would also steer three-quarters of any money Florida receives from payments from lawsuits or fines related to the lawsuit – which could amount to billions of dollars – to the same eight counties.
The committee also approved memorials to Congress asking the federal government to give an income tax exemption to those who received payments from BP for losses incurred because of the oil blast.