Florida citrus packers want box tax funds

06/23/2006 12:00:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

The proposal, designed to cover projected funding shortfalls from lower volumes — after recent hurricanes and citrus canker losses — would increase per-box taxes paid on fresh grapefruit, processed citrus and imported tangerines. Rates paid by fresh oranges and specialty citrus such as tangerines and tangelos would not be changed.

If approved, fresh grapefruit would see an increase from 25 cents a box to 40 cents a box.

The issue has caused some division in the citrus industry. Commission staff made presentations showing how reduced investments have stalled demand and consumption of juice.

The promotion agency is working with $10 million less in funds this season. Of the agency’s $51.5 million 2005-06 budget, 83% or $43 million is spent on processed citrus programs with 14%, or $7.3 million, going toward fresh citrus marketing efforts.


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