Making Florida a Global Destination for Jobs
Florida’s goal is to be the number one destination for jobs in the world. Today, Texas is our number one competitor for jobs – but Governor Scott has set the goal of unseating Texas by 2020 and taking this top spot. Because of Florida’s low tax environment, smart regulatory structure, and educated workforce, Florida is well positioned for growth in science, technology, engineering and math fields such as advanced manufacturing, medical research, and other high-tech research and development.
Attracting and Retaining Florida Businesses – The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget provides approximately $122.4 million for Florida’s economic development public-private partnerships. The Department of Economic Opportunity’s public-private partnerships include but are not limited to:
§ Enterprise Florida Inc.;
§ VISIT Florida; and
§ Space Florida.
In addition, $85 million is provided for economic development incentives such as the Quick Action Closing Fund, the Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund, and the Innovation Incentive Program. A key component of this funding is the flexibility to react quickly to economic opportunities, which will enhance business retention and job creation.
Quick Response Training - To help maintain the level of economic competitiveness Florida has achieved under Governor Scott, the Governor’s Recommended Budget includes keeping the existing Quick Response Training (QRT) Program at its current year funding level of $12.1 million. The QRT Program provides businesses in targeted industries with matching funds related to specific training activities for workers who will be moving into new jobs that the businesses create in Florida.
Making Florida the World’s Top Tourist Destination – The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget includes $17.5 million in additional funding for VISIT Florida to build on their success in attracting more tourists to the Sunshine State. The Governor’s recommended budget will provide VISIT Florida with total funding of $85 million. For every dollar invested in VISIT Florida, the state saw a return of $3.20, and VISIT FLORIDA raised more than $120 million in private matching funds. In 2013, 94.7 million visitors came to the state, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2012, and spent $76.1 billion.
Florida Export Diversification and Expansion - Governor Scott’s budget recommends $1 million to continue two highly successful export diversification and expansion programs, which support Florida’s efforts at expanding its international economic base via increased trade and exports through Target Sector Trade Grants and Export Marketing Plan assistance.
Enterprise Florida is offering target sector trade grants to help Florida companies grow their export sales through international trade events. In 2014, EFI provided 116 target sector trade grants. Eligible small and medium-sized companies can apply for a target sector trade grant to help offset costs and enable them to participate in Enterprise Florida trade shows and select U.S. certified trade exhibitions in target sectors.
In partnership with the Small Business Development Center Networks of Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service, Enterprise Florida offers qualified “new-to-export” Florida manufacturers the development of a customized Export Marketing Plan to identify overseas growth strategies for the company. In 2014, 29 businesses completed export marketing plans. Upon completion of the Export Marketing Plan, the company is offered a Gold Key or other similar overseas matchmaking service in one of the markets identified in the Export Marketing Plan.
Improving Florida’s Transportation System – Over the last 20 years, millions of people have escaped from states with climbing tax rates to move to states with lower taxes like Florida. People left states like New York, which lost $71 billion in adjusted gross income from 1992 to 2011, and Illinois, which lost $31 billion in adjusted gross income over that same period. During that time, Florida inherited 1.7 million residents, and in 2014, became the nation’s third largest state. Governor Scott recognizes the need to invest in Florida’s transportation systems to continue to keep pace with the state’s population and economic growth. The Governor’s recommended budget of $9.1 billion for the Department of Transportation’s Work Program provides for the construction and maintenance of Florida’s roads, bridges, seaports, and other public transportation systems that are critical to the growth of Florida’s economy and improving the quality of life for Florida’s families. Recommended funding for our transportation systems includes the following investments:
o $3.6 billion to expand transportation system capacity, which includes adding 245 new lane miles.
o $901.5 million for maintenance and operation.
o $657.5 million for resurfacing more than 2,510 lane miles.
o $350 million for aviation improvements.
o $492 million for transit program improvements.
o $242.6 million for scheduled repairs of 92 bridges and replacement of 16 bridges.
o $168.3 million for safety initiatives.
o $109.6 million in seaport infrastructure improvements.
o $38.3 million for bike and pedestrian trails
Workforce Training for High Wage Careers – As a new initiative under the Quick Response Training Program, the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends $30 million to provide more Floridians with the training required for successful careers. The High-Skill/High-Wage Workforce Training Program will provide flexible funding to businesses seeking to train employees and individuals seeking training in science, technology, engineering, and math as well as other specialized high skill/high wage occupations. This includes providing scholarships for attendance at Florida state colleges and post-secondary vocational centers to students seeking training in such occupations.
Investing in Florida’s Workforce System – The Florida workforce system helped place more than 470,000 Floridians in jobs during 2014. More than 23,000 Florida veterans have found jobs with the help of the state’s workforce system in the last year. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommends approximately $283.4 million for Florida’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards, responsible for providing workforce services directly linked to job seekers and businesses including job placement, recruitment assistance, and skills training.