Florida marine businesses seek tax relief

MIAMI – A measure to change the way maritime businesses in Florida such as marinas, bait shops and boat yards are assessed has been added to the Nov. 4 ballot in the state and seeks to help them cope with skyrocketing property taxes, the Miami Herald reported in a story today.

Under the current state policy, property is assessed at it "highest and best" potential use. That means a marina could be taxed as if it were a condo complex.

Amendment 6 would change the way these businesses are taxed, based on their current use rather than the property's potential. Like other amendments, it will require 60 percent approval to pass.

The amendment is needed because current policy "is the equivalent of being taxed on what you could potentially make rather than on what you're making," Michele Miller, spokeswoman for the Marine Industries Association of Florida, told the newspaper.

There is no organized opposition, according to the Herald.

Miller called the amendment "a fairness issue" and noted marine businesses represent an $18 billion a year industry in Florida, employing 220,000 people.

"Do you want 220,000 unemployed people?" she asked rhetorically.

A few merchants have already shuttered under the condo crush, taxed out of business, the Herald reported.

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