Business Climate in Boca Raton
and South Florida
Boca Raton’s business community is thriving. New companies have moved in, small businesses are growing and people are prospering. Boca Raton’s economic strength lies in its people and resources. A highly-skilled and well-educated labor force contributes to a productive and competitive business climate.
Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce has worked with the community to build a combination of a superior quality of life, a well-educated work force, an attractive tax structure, good infrastructure and transportation, and reasonably priced, prime office space. These advantages, combined with sunny skies, sandy beaches and magnificent golf courses, provide a more than alluring package. But add an energetic and enthusiastic ambiance, and Boca Raton becomes an ideal place to do business.
Corporations are relocating to the area because of the quality of the work force and the quality of life in southern Florida. This is a place where one can live a casual lifestyle, yet find a very strong work ethic. Boca Raton is recognized globally as a world-class destination. Boca Raton’s attractions make it easy for local companies to recruit top-level executives and get them to relocate. Many CEO’s of outside companies in fact have winter homes in Boca Raton, and many of the visitors eventually buy property as well.
Transportation / Central Location
Boca Raton’s excellent network of transportation options is a major factor in its prosperous growth. It is centrally located and within an hour’s drive of three major airports and three large deep water seaports, providing a gateway to international commerce. Palm Beach International Airport is located 25 miles north, and Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International and Miami International Airports are located 20 and 35 miles south respectively. An executive jetport, daily passenger and freight service, and a mass-transit commuter train are located within the city limits.
The international gateway to the world has had a positive effect on success in the international marketplace with its U.S. products. The area also provides easy access to two dutyfree trade zones and the two busiest container ports in the state, including the Foreign Trade Zones at the Port of Palm Beach and the Port of Miami. The freight lines of Florida East Coast and CSX Railways run through the area and are complemented by Amtrak passenger service and the Tri-Rail commuter service, and three major interstate highways – I-95, the Florida Turnpike, and the Sawgrass Expressway.
Business Development Board Job Growth Incentive Program
Boca Raton is fortunate to be within the economic development realm that the Palm Beach Business Development Board represents. The seven-year-old Job Growth Incentive Program, which pays employers for creating high-paying jobs, continues to be a major catalyst for business development. Since its inception in 1991, the Development Board has granted $7.5 million in moneys from the Fund which is used for relocating or expanding companies in Palm Beach County. The program has helped create 5,471 new jobs with an average salary of $28,200, which is $2,000 higher than the average salary in the county.
The program provides for cash grants of as much as $2,000 for each full-time job created, with up to $500,000 available. Companies creating 25 – 50 jobs can receive $500 per job, and up to $2,000 per job for more than 250 jobs.
Tax Advantages of Florida
Florida is one of very few states in the country that does not tax personal income. And that’s just the beginning:
- Corporate income tax rate for Chapter C corporations (regular corporations) is 5.5%. The first $5,000 of taxable income apportioned to Florida is exempt.
- No corporate income tax on Chapter S corporations.
- No corporate income tax on partnerships.
- No corporate franchise tax on capital stock.
- No property tax on business inventory or vehicles.
- The state has one of the nation’s lowest corporate income tax rates.
- Retail sales tax is 6% and the intangible tax rate (the tax on the value of stocks, bonds, accounts receivable, and taxable securities) is lower than in most states.
- Incentives for businesses locating in the county’s 3 Enterprise Zones include credits toward state corporate income tax and sales tax refunds for new equipment and building materials.
There are more than 20 banks in the Greater Boca Raton area, with more than 50 main branch offices in a diverse array of organizations; from small community banks to the major national banking institutions and brokerage firms which provide basic services to top-of-the-line investment and asset management. The perfect combination of top-level corporate executives, thriving businesses, well-off retirees and a booming tourist industry gives Boca Raton a continued infusion of capital investment and keeps local deposits hovering around the $2 billion mark.
South Florida Employment Workforce
The availability of a well-trained work force, and relatively abundant industrial and office space are key reasons companies choose to relocate or expand their operations in Southeast Florida. The positive factors of a rapid population increase in young, middle-management families, tremendous potential for recruitment and cooperative programs between corporations and institutions are prime considerations for relocation. Boca Raton’s two universities continually provide many top-quality job candidates. Many local colleges provide continuing education programs which create a well-qualified work force for all levels of a company’s needs.
Strong growth in business services, coupled with corporate expansions, accounted for many of the non-agricultural jobs created in Palm Beach County in 1996. The County’s single biggest coup, however, was financial services giant MBNA, which is expected to add 1,000 jobs with the establishment of its 60,000 sq. ft. Southeast Regional Headquarters in Boca Raton. The company recently purchased an additional 54 acres and has plans for more offices, which is expected to create another 1,500 jobs.
Some of the companies that relocated to or significantly expanded in Boca Raton in 1996 include MBNA, FedEx, ADT, Sprint Spectrum, Metritek and Jacobson’s. Companies such as NABI, Boca Research, Rexall Sundown and VOC Analytical have all made national headlines for the success they have exhibited within the past year.
The average annual salary per position in Palm Beach County in 1996 was $26,660. The Median family income for Boca Raton was $52,143, and the median household income was $67,254 per year. The unemployment rate is down in the County from 5.2% in February 1996 to 3.5% in February 1997. Florida is also a “Right to Work” state and only about 8% of the work force is unionized.