TaxWatch argues for improving infrastructure to help tourism

Florida TaxWatch has a new report out that additional infrastructure investments across the state are needed – primarily in the Miami, Orlando and Tampa areas – to sustaining Florida’s positive tourism growth.

Tourism employed approximately 1.09 million Floridians in 2013 and has created one job for every 85 visitors, on average, since 2002. Tourism contributed $51.14 billion to the Florida Gross State Product in 2012 and currently generates about 23 percent of Florida’s sales tax revenue.

A 2013 Florida TaxWatch report found that the tourism industry welcoming 100 million visitors would create 121,298 jobs, 94 percent of them in the private, non-farm sector, with an average salary of $43,751.

“Florida’s tourism industry is a critical component of the state’s diverse economy, but growing demand puts a strain on the state’s transportation and tourism infrastructure, which could limit the future growth of this important industry,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

The latest TaxWatch report identifies Florida’s looming capacity restrictions that could lead to challenges for the state’s residents and visitors. It analyzes capacity at Florida’s airports, seaports and on state roads to determine where investments are needed to ensure Florida is a desirable place to visit and live. TaxWatch found that many of the state’s transportation networks are congested and projected growth is expected to increase demand for existing infrastructure.

“Florida must be able to adequately provide capacity for residents and visitors to retain its position as a world-class destination,” said Robert Weissert, Senior Vice President for Research and General Counsel for Florida TaxWatch. “Lawmakers must address the critical capacity and infrastructure development needs facing the state to ensure Florida is not stifling the growth of an industry that supports millions of jobs for state taxpayers.”