More and better jobs could come from sales tax holiday

Clearwater, Florida -- Want a better job that pays more? It may be on the way thanks to something you'd never expect: a sales tax holiday. This one definitely isn't for school supplies. It's for enormous things that could bring enormous growth to Florida.

During a school sales tax holiday, you'll pay no tax on clothes, pencils, and paper. Starting Wednesday, you'll pay no tax on a car-building robot, a room-sized refrigerator, or something called a double-sided automatic sticker labeling machine.

For three years, there will now be no sales tax on manufacturing equipment in Florida. Here's how that benefits you:

Drop by Hoffstetter Tool and Die in Clearwater. In the back, massive green machines thump up and down, spitting out panels of metal the size of a paperback book onto a conveyor belt.

The metal pieces will be put together into energy efficient lights. And owner Greg Hoffstetter says during the tax holiday he's already planning to buy more gear to crank out even more parts.

"If it's more affordable, we can get the equipment in here faster, creating more work and more jobs," Hoffstetter said.

Basically he'll now get a discount that's equal to the sales tax on every piece of equipment he buys -- here, that's seven percent off. He says he'll make more profit and hire more of our neighbors.

A statewide study says, along with other steps, it can help add 150,000 Florida jobs in the next five years.

"We're coming off a bad economy, we're all rebounding, we're trying to create jobs. And we can't create jobs without equipment," Hoffstetter said.

But I wanted to know -- are these new opportunities going to be good jobs or just "jobs?"

I researched salaries through the Florida Chamber of Commerce. And get this: manufacturing and exporting jobs pay 30 percent better than the average worker's paycheck in Florida.

The typical pay in manufacturing? $64,000 a year.

This sales tax holiday is set to end in three years, but if it is cranking out jobs like the industry thinks it will, it can always be extended to keep Florida competitive.


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