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Florida Times-Union: Florida needs more incentive for manufacturing

Friday, May 03, 2013

A revitalization of America’s manufacturing industry is occurring and with it new jobs and economic growth.

Every direct manufacturing job creates another two to three indirect jobs. These jobs pay above the state average.

Florida has the opportunity to capitalize on this resurgence by creating a business climate that promotes manufacturing growth. To accomplish this, we need to have all the right pieces.

There are approximately 4,000 manufacturing jobs open in Florida right now. However, students entering the workforce lack the training and skill-sets needed to fill these technical and technology-rich positions.

The Legislature passed the Career and Professional Education Act, which helps students of all ages hone technology skills and provides high school and college students with the opportunity to earn industry certifications.

Manufacturers in Florida are also uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of recent Free Trade Agreements signed with Panama and Columbia, growing Central and South American economies and an expanded Panama Canal. As Florida manufacturing grows, so will Florida exports.

Florida’s tax climate also needs to be right for manufacturing to prosper. Florida is one of only nine states that imposes sales tax on the purchase of manufacturing machinery and equipment, putting manufacturers located here at a competitive disadvantage. Legislators have a proposal to eliminate this sales tax and free up dollars manufacturers can use to hire more employees, expand their facilities and make other capital investments.

As a Florida manufacturer, PotashCorp-White Springs urges the Legislature to eliminate sales taxes on the purchase of manufacturing equipment and send a clear signal that Florida is open for manufacturing business. We can be the best manufacturing state in the nation.

We can create new jobs and spur economic growth. Let’s reignite the industry that spurred one of our nation’s most prosperous eras. It is time to unlock Florida’s manufacturing potential so we can all benefit.

Terry Baker, general manager, PotashCorp, White Springs

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