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House passes tax cap on yachts

The House has endorsed capping the sales tax on any boat sold in Florida at $18,000 -- the amount that would currently be taxed on a $300,000 yacht. The $1.4 million measure passed 79-36. A similar proposal, including a tax cap on planes, is part of a large tax credit package that has passed the Senate.

Supporters say wealthy boat buyers simply buy their boats and store them in Nassau or the Bahamas, evading the tax entirely. But once the tax falls to around $18,000, they argue, it becomes attractive for them to keep it in Florida. "Those people were not going to pay taxes anyway," said Rep. Chris Dorworth, a Lake Mary Republican.

Democrats assailed the bill as a giveaway to the rich at a time when the House voted to remove a $200 million subsidy to retired state workers. “Put that $1.4 million back into something that’s more important,” said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee. “Put it into Healthy Start. Put it into something that really makes a difference in this state.”