Florida Gov. Scott's shift away from Enterprise Florida concept gets noticed in Ohio
Wake up and good morning. I'm still trying to sort through the surprise of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's canning John Adams and the decision to resurrect the state Department of Commerce (banished more than 10 years ago). Call me old fashioned but I had figured a governor (photo, left) who loves minimalist government would embrace the lack of a state agency (not create one) and like the public-private partnership structure that is Enterprise Florida. Here's Scott's letter seeking Adams' resignation.
What's kind of amusing, though, is that the neutering, for now, of Enterprise Florida already is influencing other states. Business First, a Columbus, Ohio-based business newspaper, cites the "element of irony" that Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s pet plan to privatize the Ohio Department of Development is drawing fire because of the reported shortcomings of Enterprise Florida. Here's the Business First blog posting.
It seems Kasich often uses Florida as a shining example of a state that has "swiped Ohio companies and residents with a friendlier business climate and lower tax rates (not to mention those 70-degree days in mid-January!)," Business First says.
No longer. "Now Ohio House Minority Leader Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, is holding up Florida as the poster child for what can go wrong when a state turns over its economic development functions to a private entity. Citing stories about new Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to undo the privatization structure, Budish is asking House Republicans to hold off on a scheduled vote Tuesday on House Bill 1." That bill would would establish the framework for Kasich’s new JobsOhio program, which calls for a private, nonprofit corporation to lead the state’s efforts to attract and retain companies in Ohio.
Ohio may be jumping the gun on drawing such conclusions on Gov. Scott's motivations in Florida. Clearly Scott is not impressed by Enterprise Florida's track record of economy building in the state. And Enterprise Florida's now ex-chief Adams' (photo, right) low-profile style may have lacked the punch our new governor wants. On the other hand, Scott clearly wants to consolidate his power over the economy by reviving the Commerce Department.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist