Legislation would increase accountability and competitiveness of state job creation programs
TAMPA, Fla. – February 23, 2016 – As the Florida House of Representatives convenes this Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Partnership is urging members of the Bay Area Legislative Delegation (BALD) to support legislation that would reform the economic development incentives process, and provide increased funding for competitive job creation projects through the establishment of the Florida Enterprise Fund.
HB 1325, sponsored by Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, will be heard today in the House, with a vote scheduled for tomorrow. In alignment with Governor Rick Scott’s proposed reforms, the bill takes steps to increase the accountability and efficiency of state incentives programs, and create a competitive tool for business recruitment and expansion by forming the Florida Enterprise Fund.
A similar bill, SB 1646, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, was approved by the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee on February 11, and awaits scheduling by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“A competitively funded Florida Enterprise Fund, combined with the proposed reforms, will provide the critical resources we need to attract high-wage jobs and capital investment to the Tampa Bay region,” said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “We commend Governor Scott, Senator Latvala and Representative Boyd for their leadership on this issue, and call on all members of the Bay Area Legislative Delegation to support this important regional priority.”
Tampa Bay is one of Florida’s top markets for job creation. By complementing a favorable business climate, skilled workforce and attractive quality of life with strategically deployed financial incentives, the region has successfully competed with leading metro areas throughout the country to win significant projects in recent years.
Since its inception, the current Quick Action Closing Fund program has been used to secure 23 high-impact projects in the Tampa Bay region, representing 7,918 contracted jobs and $702 million in contracted capital investment. Local economic developers have leveraged the fund to facilitate the expansion of existing companies such as USAA and Lockheed Martin, and assist in the recruitment of global corporations such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Feld Entertainment and Air Products, Inc.
Support of the Florida Enterprise Fund was identified as a key priority in the Tampa Bay Partnership’s 2016 legislative agenda, and will be included in a legislative scorecard recognizing BALD member support on issues of regional significance.
BALD members comprise 25 percent of the state legislature, and represent the eight counties of the Tampa Bay region, including Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota.
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ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY PARTNERSHIP
The Tampa Bay Partnership galvanizes the business and political leadership of Tampa Bay to influence policies, programs and projects that enhance the economic competitiveness and prosperity of the region. Founded in 1994, the organization is supported by more than 120 private investors, public partners and community stakeholders from the counties of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota.