"Capitulate & come to Florida" Rick Scott's business recruitment trip to Connecticut:
Bottom line: One of Governor Scott's favorite things to do as Governor is to leave the state. In fact, it might be his favorite thing to do (based on the first conversation I had with him after he'd been Governor for a few months). It's no secret that one of the keys to Governor Scott threatening to veto the original budget passed by the state legislature; was the near elimination of his two favorite programs, Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida. In the special session in which a budget deal was recently reached, Governor Scott, didn't get all of the funding he desired for the two programs but he did net about $160 million for the two over them over the next year. Notably he was able to obtain $85 million for a new fund called the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund and potentially retain more control over the use of the funds than ever before (under Enterprise Florida). That $85 million is the key to the Governor having the ability to do what he needs to do outside of the state...
In the earliest months of the Governor's administration as Florida was still in the mist of the housing crisis and our economy was on the ropes - he set out to recruit as many businesses to Florida as possible. Over the years the track record is pretty impressive.
Since January of 2011, about 1.36 million jobs have been added in Florida. If you lived in Florida in 2010, you're more than aware that Rick Scott's first three priorities were all jobs. Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January of 2011 was a staggering 11.9% (3rd worst nationally). That compared to a 9.1% national unemployment rate. Fast forward to today and Florida's unemployment rate is 4.3%, which matches the national average.
During this time Florida's total jobs added (above) are the third highest total nationally on an absolute basis and the 2nd best overall growth on a relative basis. It's on back of that record that Governor Scott pushed for and succeed in obtaining $85 million with what appeared to be virtual unilateral decision making (on how the resources would be used to attract and growth jobs within Florida). We now have a pretty good idea. He's hitting the road again.
While the fund isn't structured as Enterprise Florida was/is for business recruitment, it would appear as though Governor Scott is intent on using it similarly. Rick Scott's successes in well above average job growth, aside from population growth within Florida, have come from a mix of relocation by businesses, in combination with expansions by others. He's had notable feuds with other states he's poached businesses from like New York and California over the years. Now it's on to Connecticut.
According to the Tax Foundation Florida's business tax climate ranks #4 nationally...Connecticut #43. There's a case to be made it would appear. Yesterday the Governor made the case in Connecticut, that they "simply can't compete". Hopefully there's success that comes from this latest mission. We have a lot of money riding on it & he may have a bid for Bill Nelson's seat riding on it as well.