When one thinks of business in Florida, most think of tourism—amusement parks, fishing, golf, and beaches—or Florida’s world-famous citrus agriculture—oranges, grapefruits, and strawberries. Perhaps Florida’s best kept secret: Florida’s manufacturing sector is surging forward.
In recent years, Floridians have become accustomed to Governor Rick Scott announcing manufacturing jobs being created across the state. Just in the last few months, another 380 jobs were added to manufacture luxury boats in Florida. Those are in addition to the 250 others to manufacture LNG Heat Exchanges, 100 more jobs for biotech manufacturing in Tampa, and 134 new positions to manufacture automotive components at VOXX International. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that Chief Executive Magazine recently ranked Florida the second best state for business.
Florida’s business-friendly climate creates an allure for manufacturers. All Floridians relish in the fact that there is no personal income tax. Consider that Ndamukong Suh, a splashy defensive, free-agent signing, would have had to be paid $5-10 million more elsewhere to net the same amount of money that he will with the Miami Dolphins. Nevertheless, in addition to the income tax advantage, Florida’s government further encourages economic development.
For example, manufacturers celebrated Florida’s recent elimination of the sales taxes on machinery and equipment used in manufacturing. This sales tax relief should save Florida’s manufacturers over $140 million annually. According to Enterprise Florida, Florida now ranks among the top 10 states in the country for manufacturing. Florida has more than 18,000 manufacturers employing more than 317,000 employees.
In addition, Florida’s investment in its infrastructure enables Florida manufacturers to easily bring in its raw materials and move its finished product to market (manufacturing accounts for 93% of Florida’s exports). Florida boasts more than 2,700 miles of rail lines, 12,000 miles of highway and a whopping 15 deep-water seaports. Despite the significant tax cuts enacted in the last four years, Florida’s budget continues to grow and Florida plans to continue bolstering its infrastructure, which will assist all Floridians, particularly those interested in transporting goods.
State-level policies make a big difference. Manufacturers’ expansion within Florida and relocations to Florida prove as much.