This week proved to be a letdown for Enterprise Zones. We were hopeful that a Committee Bill would come out of Senate Finance and Tax since there was going to be a discussion. Unfortunately they never allowed discussion and just included the information we provided in a packet. From all accounts that we are now hearing, there is a growing concern this program will not be reauthorized. The broad coalition of entities are working very hard to get the Enterprise Zone program reformed and reauthorized but it becoming increasingly difficult.
Additionally as it relates to Enterprise Florida and their operations and the toolkit, there is work to be done. Their operational budget looks fine. The Senate has $5M for Marketing but the House has zero at this point. Both the House and Senate have $23M for incentives but we know that is significantly lower than the $85M that the Governor has requested.
As we stated last week, we need to keep pressure as we go into the second half of Session reaching out and continually having conversations with your local delegations. As Senator Latvala always lets us know in his Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. He also says you have to show up and be there to make sure your requests are heard. We need to you to continually do this over the next 5 weeks.
Lastly, please don’t forget that early bird registration for the 2015 conference ends next Thursday, April 2
. Please register and make your hotel reservations today!
3802 Spectrum Blvd.
Register NOW for the 2015 FEDC Conference
Join economic developers from around Florida to discuss the most important issues in economic development today. Florida is well-positioned for a resurgence in job growth and prosperity. This conference will highlight the Pioneers, Leaders, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Catalysts that will drive Florida’s economic future. Learn and experience how Florida is Leading the Way.
Early Bird registration will end next Thursday, April 2nd!
Members $260 | Non-Members $425
REGISTER NOW! »
The online reservation system for the Walt Disney Swan Resort is NOW OPEN. Standard room rates are $199 and upgrades are available. You may make your reservation online or by calling 1-888-828-8850.
RESERVE NOW! »
January 2015 Employment Figures Released
Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in February 2015, down 0.1 percentage point from the January 2015 rate of 5.7 percent, and down 0.9 percentage point from 6.5 percent a year ago. There were 548,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9,702,000. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February. Florida’s unemployment rate has been less than or equal to the national rate for 23 of the last 27 months.. Read the Commissioner's Statement and download stats: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm
Florida Gains Momentum
Florida is on a roll. The state has passed New York and now is the third most populous in the nation. Businesses are finding a hospitable environment here. In the 47th consecutive Economic Yearbook issue, Florida Trend makes note of the state passing the 20 million population mark. That’s an amazing statistic especially considering only 6 million people resided here in 1965. That’s an average growth of 280,000 people each year. For better or worse, that growth will continue. Demographers predict at least 22.5 million residents in 10 years.
Miami growth has flowed north to Broward and Palm Beach counties, which are seeing their own residential developments topped by big projects at ports, malls and offices. Farther north, the Treasure Coast is alive with marine industries and health care. The Space Coast is resurrecting itself with growth at Harris, Rockwell and Northrop Grumman. Daytona is seeing raceway expansion, hotel/retail development and other major projects.
In September, Florida Trend will have a special issue examining the implications of this population surge. Our working title is “20 Million Strong.” They will explore the factors behind this growth and the challenges the state faces in water, transportation, health care, education, jobs and more. This month, the magazine examines the status of Florida today on a region-by-region basis. Miami-Dade leads growth statewide with South American money driving construction and other sectors, while tourism continues to have a major impact. Business is booming!
Read More »
Florida Chamber Worried about "Shoestring Marketing Budget" for Florida, Asks For Support
Florida’s economy is not just about the sun and beach anymore, economists say. While tourism and retireesOne of the first rules of practice before opening a business is to develop a business plan. Within that plan is a section devoted to the businesses marketing efforts. I’ve often wondered -if a prospective business’s marketing efforts were built on sunshine and word-of-mouth, how fast would that entrepreneur be laughed away from a conference table. Yet, that’s exactly what the state of Florida relies on to tell its success story – a shoestring marketing plan. Certainly, we love our Florida sunshine, and we love sharing with others that Florida has created more than 800,000 private-sector jobs, that home values are improving and taxes have been cut 40 times.
The Florida Chamber is leading the effort to encourage the Florida Legislature to invest a minimum of $20 million annually for marketing Florida. Local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations along with businesses statewide are partnering to further strengthen this effort. The Florida Senate has committed $5 million in their initial budget offering, but the House has yet to make an allocation. For a more competitive Florida, now is the time to market Florida’s perfect climate for business message. There’s no doubt that Florida is well positioned for success. But, as we work to make Florida the number one job creating state in the nation, we must ensure that our economic tool belt has the right tools to help recruit and expand jobs to Florida.
Get Involved »
Walton Among Fastest Growing Counties
Walton County was the third fastest growing county in Florida from 2013 to 2014, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The new data provides population growth by percentage across the state. Sumter County posted the largest gains with a 5.2 percent increase in its population while St. Johns County was second with a 4 percent jump.
I live it every day, and I am not surprised at all,” County Commissioner Cindy Meadows said. “It’s booming in Walton County, and it’s not just residential. It’s multi-family, commercial, office and hotel. We’re seeing every kind of development.” Meadows said she believes Walton has become more business-friendly while also preserving a high quality of life.
Read More »
Pasco County Explores Stronger Ties To Medical Tourism
Pasco County is seeking to lure more tourists beyond young athletes and nature lovers, and the courted audience could include people with bad hearts and poor eyesight. It is part of a Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council planned study of medical tourism in which Pasco County is being asked to pony up $25,000 to help inventory the region’s medical services. It is the first step toward more broad-based marketing to entice patients to travel to the Tampa Bay area for health care and to attract doctors and other medical professionals for training.
Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm, estimates it is a $100 billion global industry. Across the state, medical tourism accounted for $23 million in hotel bookings in 2014. Specialties that could help attract medical tourists to Pasco County are the cardiovascular services at HCA’s Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and the eye surgeons at St. Luke’s Cataract and Laser Institute, just across the Pasco-Pinellas border in Tarpon Springs, said Commissioner Kathryn Starkey. St. Luke’s, which also has offices in Bayonet Point and Spring Hill, already is part of the medical tourism industry, having treated patients from 77 countries.
It is indicative of the importance of health care to the Pasco economy. For instance, HCA’s two west Pasco hospitals, Medical Center of Trinity and Regional Medical Center Bayonet, have a combined annual economic impact of almost $300 million, the company said, including payroll and benefits for nearly 2,600 employees, taxes, capital investment and transactions with local vendors. Additionally, the 2014 Urban Land Institute report identified medical-related industries as the businesses Pasco County should seek to recruit to broaden its tax base and diversify its employment opportunities. Read More »
Miami Firm Hired To Connect Small Businesses With All Aboard Florida
The Vailon Group, a Miami-based consulting firm, has been hired to make sure South Florida subcontractors and small businesses have a chance to work on All Aboard Florida’s flagship terminal, MiamiCentral. Vailon will implement All Aboard’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in Miami-Dade County, which will create opportunities for those companies to work with Suffolk Construction, the construction manager of the planned 3 million square-foot station complex.
A study conducted by The Washington Economics Group found that the Miami station — which will encompass residential, office, retail and restaurant space — could bring a total economic impact of $1.3 billion between 2014 and 2021 and generate $51.4 million in labor income. The first two years of construction are expected to bring 457 jobs to Miami with the possible creation of 408 permanent positions once the station complex is complete. All Aboard Florida is a $2.5 billion passenger rail project that will connect Miami to Orlando, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, by 2017.
Read More »
Envera Systems Expands Sarasota Operations Center
Envera Systems, which provides electronic security monitoring for communities, will expand operations, creating 30 new jobs and making a capital investment of $604,000 in Sarasota, Florida. Envera’s state-of-the-art central station operates 24 hours a day/365 days a year, protecting residents and visitors at Envera protected communities. The company has experienced significant growth each year for the past several years and currently employs more than 100 people.
Jesse Panuccio, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director, said, “Envera System’s expansion is more evidence that Florida is solidifying its place as a new hub for STEM business. The expansion is part of strong job growth in Sarasota County over the last few years. This growth is fostered by Florida’s low-tax, business friendly policies.”
“We are thrilled Envera will be staying and expanding in Sarasota County,” said Mark Huey, President/ CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County. “Envera represents the kind of technology company with high growth and good-paying jobs that supports Sarasota County’s commitment to diversify our economy.” This project was made possible by the close partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Sarasota County Commission and the Sarasota County Economic Development Corporation.
Read More »
Made in Brevard Aims To Jump-Start Local Manufacturing
When it launched in 2013, the “Made in Brevard” campaign for local manufacturing was simply a marketing initiative spearheaded by the Economic Development Commission of the Space Coast and the four Brevard County chambers of commerce. It was a program intended to inspire Brevard County consumers to shop local and to instill pride in the creators of Brevard-made products. But now Lynda Weatherman, the president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission, envisions a larger purpose for the “Made in Brevard” program. She is redefining its mission to encompass workforce development in the local manufacturing industry, which she believes is just as important economically as strengthening individual, Brevard manufacturing firms.
“It’s our effort to guide the industry to greater growth. Basically what we’re doing is working concurrently with the manufacturing companies and with the suppliers of workers, such as local schools, to ensure that there’s enough talent available,” said Weatherman. “We in this country have lost a generation of people that might have gone into manufacturing, if not for the stigma that was associated with it. What we need to do as a nation is to have the public recognize the workforce opportunities of manufacturing.” Eventually, depending on when and how much additional funding the “Made In Brevard” program receives, Weatherman plans to expand it into a full-scale attraction and recruitment campaign designed to entice young people to join the manufacturing industry, which currently suffers from a chronic shortage of entry-level workers.
A few months ago, Weatherman’s agency began promoting a scholarship program for Brevard workers who wished to advance in manufacturing careers by taking courses at Eastern Florida State College and obtaining industry certifications. The next step of this group effort is to convince angel investors to start financing manufacturing start-ups in Brevard, as they do in Miami. “Made in Brevard is an example of that kind of investment from the public sector. It’s exciting to see people with a commitment to Brevard being a place where ideas are built. I’d really like to see more money going into this, particular from private investors.” said Jenna Buehler, the director of communications at Jaycon Systems, a Brevard-based manufacturer.
Read More »
Deerfield Consults Experts for Downtown Redevelopment
With the Cove and the beach area looking improved thanks to a special tax dedicated to refurbishing, Deerfield Beach is looking to another place in need of attention. Volunteer planning professionals from as far away as Chicago spent the third week of March touring an area that includes the defunct Deerfield Builders Supply property at 77 SE Second Ave., as well as the adjacent railroad tracks and some properties north. It is an area they now are calling ‘Pioneer Grove.’
That team is part of an American Planning Association program that matches communities that need planning assistance with experts from around the country, according to the group’s press materials. The program’s teams have assisted nationwide with community planning goals, economic development, transportation and post-disaster recovery. This group was chosen for expertise in land use, economic development, market analysis, landscape architecture and urban design. The volunteers worked with the city for five days to address infrastructure and design challenges.
Read More »
Gateway One Lending & Finance Opens Tampa Service Center
Gateway One Lending & Finance, a subsidiary of TCF National Bank and an indirect subsidiary of TCF Financial Corporation, opened a new auto lending service center that will create up to 115 jobs and provide a $675,000 capital investment in Tampa, Florida. “Gateway One has experienced tremendous growth during the past several years and the addition of this new facility in Tampa gives us the scale and efficiency needed to serve the needs of our national auto lending business,” said Brian MacInnis, CEO of Gateway One Lending & Finance. “We were drawn to Tampa’s impressive roster of leading businesses, strong footprint in the financial industry and its skilled financial services workforce – all of which are needed to support our business.” This project was made possible through strong partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Hillsborough County, and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.
Read More »
Florida’s Economy Growing More Diverse
Florida’s economy is not just about the sun and beach anymore, economists say. While tourism and retirees will always be important, the state is much more diversified than before the recession, according to a new report from economists at Wells Fargo. Florida is seeing job growth in transportation and logistics, technology and life science sectors. “I’m more optimistic about Florida today than any time since the 1980s. We have a more promising stream of growing industries and businesses that have grown up in Florida. The strength we see today is far more durable,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist for Wells Fargo. The outlook is especially bright for South Florida, the report said. Financial activities and professional and business services have shown solid gains in jobs over the year. A growing population has fueled demand for housing and local goods and services.
Read More »