Florida Delegation Rallies Behind the Fishing Equipment Tax Relief Act

This week, members of the Florida delegation rallied behind the “Fishing Equipment Tax Relief Act,” a bill “which would create fairness in federal excise taxes by equalizing the tax rates for portable, electronically-aerated bait containers and the parts used to assemble it.”

Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–first teamed up on the bill two years ago. Back in April, Rubio re-introduced the proposal.

“The tax code currently penalizes small businesses that manufacture these bait containers by applying a 3 percent rate if the parts are sold separately, but a 10 percent tax rate if the product is sold assembled,” Rubio’s office noted.

“Florida’s robust saltwater fishing industry is critical to our state’s economy and our residents’ way of life,” Rubio said. “This important legislation will provide meaningful relief to Florida’s fishing industry and ensure it continues to be a thriving piece of our state’s economy. Florida is the fishing capital of the world, and I take my responsibility seriously to protect our state’s environment and economy for future generations.”

“As governor of Florida, I worked every day to make sure our state was the best place in the nation to do business,” Scott said. “We cut taxes 100 times and cut 5,400 burdensome regulations so every Floridian could live their dreams in the Sunshine State. I’m proud to join Senator Rubio to support the Fishing Equipment Tax Relief Act and continue this important work in our great state, the fishing capital of the world.”

Rubio’s office showcased the economic benefit of his proposal on the Sunshine State.

“In Florida, saltwater recreational fishing has an $8 billion economic impact and supports over 114,000 jobs, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” Rubio’s office noted. “An electronically-aerated bait container is a portable fishing bait basin that is technologically enhanced to endure being submerged in water, freezing temperatures, heavy loads, and host live bait for saltwater fishing. Reducing the excise tax for portable, electronically-aerated bait containers will provide meaningful tax relief for Florida’s robust saltwater fishing industry since this equipment is important for saltwater fishing operations.”

Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

This week, the bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., on the other side of Capitol Hill. U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., are co-sponsoring the proposal.

“The Sunshine State is the fishing capital of the world,” said Crist after he introduced the bill on Tuesday. “As an avid boater and fisherman, I know just how important fishing is to our economy, culture, and way of life. This bill will provide much needed tax relief to Florida’s fishing industry, safeguarding our small businesses, and keeping our economy strong and vibrant.”

“Florida’s dynamic recreational and commercial fishing industry is vital to our economy and an essential part of the Florida way of life,” said Bilirakis.  “The industry has faced many challenges over the past few years.  Our bipartisan bill will offer important tax-equity in the fishing business, and represents an important economic boost as the recreation industry continues to recover.”

“Florida is the fishing capital of the world,” said Buchanan. “This bill levels the playing field for small businesses that manufacture bait containers and provides relief to Florida’s fishing industry. As a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, I look forward to advocating for this important legislation.”

“As an avid angler, I know fishing is a critical part of the Florida way of life and vital to our state’s economy,” said Murphy. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill to ensure that Florida small businesses that manufacture bait containers and Florida fishermen who use these containers are treated fairly under the federal tax code.”

The American Sportfishing Association is backing the proposal which was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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