Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott gets serious in St. Augustine
Gov. Rick Scott shared his thoughts early this week on how he plans on attracting hundreds more statewide jobs. Scott, appeared showed face at Markland House in St. Augustine relaxed yet upbeat as he met with two dozen local business and political leaders from St. Johns County.
"We've had a wonderful (legislative) session this year," Scott said. Some the administration's accomplishments include the elimination of tenure so Florida can keep "the best teachers," lower corporate and property taxes, cutting $700 million from water management district budgets and a continuing effort to free business from excessive regulation and "frivolous lawsuits."
"We want to stick to our core mission and eliminate those things that would be nice to have but don't need," he said. "We're very focused on jobs. We want to ensure by cuts in corporate tax rates that businesses will want to locate in this state."
Scott briefly mentioned Florida's unemployment rate had been 12.6 percent is now down to 10.6 percent. But according to the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce unemployment is about 8.2 percent. Business leaders asked Scott to come and highlight business opportunities in St. Johns County, said Norm Gregory, vice president of economic development for the Economic Development Council. "Overall he was very positive, very directed and focused on doing what is necessary to increase employment on St. Johns County," Gregory said. "He wanted business leaders to give him an idea about what is hampering or holding back growth."
Wayne Robison, a business leader for Rulon Co., a manufacturing company that sells its products internationally, said there was a "lot of (business) opportunity" in Florida. Robison told Scott he'd like to see lower taxes on new machinery purchases so he could expand production. "The state (taxes) are onerous and overbearing," Robison said. "Businesses our size would love to come here. It's a no-brainer to give them a tax incentive."
According to Scott, Florida increasing its manufacturing, shipping capacity and relationships with the military. "In 2014, Miami will be the first port (on the East Coast) ready for the new Panama Canal," he said. Scott is serious about increasing the job market and working close with business owners. "If any of you have any issues with one of our state agencies, call me. If there are mandates coming out of the state that don't make sense, call me. We're very focused on solving problems," Scott said. And without hesitation, Scott gave out his direct line in Tallahassee: (850) 488-5603.
"We're the nation's fourth biggest exporter and have the third largest number of tech companies, and nobody knows that," Scott said. "(Taxpayers) are expecting government to become more efficient, just like people's businesses are doing. Federal programs have not been successful. There's no more money left. Next year's election is going to be about jobs."