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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Business or campaign promotion? Enterprise Florida spot features Scott

6

February

Enterprise Florida is ramping up its national campaign to promote Florida as "the perfect business climate" and includes a 30-second television ad to be broadcast nationwide that features, among others, Gov. Rick Scott.

 

 

The ad is part of a $1.25 million ad campaign that includes a new website and a glossy wrap-around cover ad that also features the governor. It is being attached to 1,000 copies of Fortune magazine.

 

Is the spotlight on the governor in an election year the convenience of incumbency or taxpayer-funded campaign promotion? It depends on who you ask. 

 

Enterprise Florida says $800,000 of the campaign is coming from donations from corporations -- and announced new donations Thursday of $50,000 from Gulf Power Corp. and $25,000 from Florida Great Northwest. The television ad will be purchased "adjacent to business and business news television programming in key markets such as Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and the Beltway," said spokeswoman Nancy Blum-Heintz.

 

"We are being particularly sensitive to the state’s campaign and ethics regulations so that the Governor’s brief appearance cannot be misconstrued,'' she said. "

 

The Fortune cover also carries a disclaimer: "It does not constitute an endorsement by Fortune and no endorsement is implied."

 

Florida Democrats, however, say the timing is no accident.

 

"This is rich, coming from the same organization that Rick Scott has used to pledged $266 million dollars to corporations that have created only 4% of the jobs they have promised,'' said Joshua Karp, communications director. "Now Scott is turning to the very voters who have rejected his cuts to education and giveaways to special interests, using taxpayer money to fund his next round of self-promotion efforts."  

 

 

 

 

 

Added Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant: "Rick Scott is basically using Florida taxpayers as a campaign donor for his re-election campaign. That is wrong." she said. “If Enterprise Florida wants to showcase what is best about our state, they would not be featuring Rick Scott.”

 

Enterprise Florida says it's all part of their effort to improve the state's brand. 

 

“When Governor Scott asked me to lead the Enterprise Florida team, we talked with site selection professionals from across the country and realized that the state suffered from the perception that it was not business-friendly,” said Enterprise Florida President Gray Swoope said in a press release. “Thanks to greatly improved pro-business policies and close partnerships with economic development offices across the state, Florida is now winning on cost, talent and competitiveness.”

 

 

The 30-second ad, debuted at today's Enterprise Florida meeting, also features Swoope, Hertz CEO Mark Frissora, Florida Power & Light president Eric Silagy, Carol Craig of Craig Technologies and ends with Scott calling Florida the "perfect climate for business." 

 

Blum-Heintz said it is "unlikely" Floridians will see the ad featuring the governor. 

 

 

 

 

 

[Last modified: Friday, February 7, 2014 11:57am]

    

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