Tampa Bay area Congress members reintroduce legislation for fishing industry relief
Florida Democrats are looking to give anglers a break.

Fishing
The legislation is a bipartisan effort.

A group of Tampa Bay area Congress members has reintroduced legislation seeking tax relief for Florida fishers.

The bill, known as the Fishing Equipment Tax Relief Act, would equalize the tax rate for portable, electronically aerated bait containers with the parts used to assemble them. The legislation is a bipartisan effort, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Charlie Crist, Vern Buchanan and Stephanie Murphy.

“Florida’s dynamic recreational and commercial fishing industry is vital to our economy and an essential part of the Florida way of life,” Bilirakis said in a statement. “The industry has faced many challenges over the past few years. Our bipartisan bill will offer important tax-equity in the fishing business, and represents an important economic boost as the recreation industry continues to recover.”

Currently, portable, electronically aerated bait containers are taxed at a rate of 10% if sold assembled, but the parts used to make the containers are taxed at a rate of only 3% when sold separately, according to a news release. The lawmakers supporting the bill argue that this tax rate penalizes small businesses that manufacture bait containers.

“The Sunshine State is the fishing capital of the world,” Crist said in a news release. “As an avid boater and fisherman, I know just how important fishing is to our economy, culture, and way of life. This bill will provide much needed tax relief to Florida’s fishing industry, safeguarding our small businesses, and keeping our economy strong and vibrant.”

The bill would rectify the different tax rates by changing the tax rate on assembled portable, electronically aerated bait containers to a uniform 3%. 

Florida is the fishing capital of the world,” Buchanan said in a statement. “This bill levels the playing field for small businesses that manufacture bait containers and provides relief to Florida’s fishing industry. As a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, I look forward to advocating for this important legislation.”

The President of the American Sportfishing Association, Glenn Hughes, said in a statement the legislation would “help ensure the fair and equitable application of the fishing equipment excise tax.”

“As an avid angler, I know fishing is a critical part of the Florida way of life and vital to our state’s economy,” Murphy said in a statement. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill to ensure that Florida small businesses that manufacture bait containers and Florida fishermen who use these containers are treated fairly under the federal tax code.”

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]



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