New State Policy Could Increase Florida Manufacturing Jobs

Verdicorp builds renewable energy generators and air compressors that convert heat waste and exhaust into electricity.

The one-of-a-kind green technology was developed in Florida less than three years ago. Already companies in Germany and Australia are demanding the products.

“We are a product made in the United States and we are going to stay in the United States building this product and we are going to ship our product to the world,” said Neely Lewis with Verdicorp.

Florida is one of the few states in the US actually adding manufacturing jobs, albeit slowly. In the past year, the industry grew from 310,000 jobs to 312,000.

Eighteen people work at Verdicorp and there are plans to expand.

"We’ll have somewhere around 150 to 250 people working full-time. Those are going to be very good paying jobs,” said Lewis

The recession has slowed Vericorp growth but so has state taxes and regulation.

According to a Florida TaxWatch Report, the state could be doing more to attract manufacturing jobs to the state, like eliminating the sales taxes on machinery and equipment.

Vice President for Research Rob Weissert says Florida’s location and 14 seaports make it prime for manufacturers, but the state’s tax code is blocking expansion. “The way that we tax the key inputs to manufacturing actually discourages investment in manufacturing.”

The average manufacturing job pays 52,000 dollars, about 10,000 dollars higher than the average Florida salary. Weissert says those are the kind of wages that can speed up Florida’s recovery.

Florida TaxWatch is also suggesting the state eliminate the tangible property tax, which is an annual tax businesses pay on everything from desks and chairs to machines and equipment. Amendment 10 on the ballot this November would increase the tangible property tax exemption form 25,000 dollars to 50,000. It would also give the legislature authority to reduce it even more.

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