Make us your home page
Instagram
In their words

Economic leaders offer wish list for bay area job creation

TAMPA — The Wednesday morning event, featuring a roster of top economic development leaders in the region, was billed as a job creation summit. It morphed quickly into a job creation wish list of what the bay area needs to reduce its 10.1 percent unemployment rate: more microloans for small business; greater community and political support for mass transit; more strategic alliances among development groups and companies. Top of the list: more money.

Mike Meidel and Gene Gray, the heads of Pinellas' and Hillsborough's economic development units, respectively, said their budgets were being slashed by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That shortfall makes it doubly hard to fund business growth at a time when state incentive money has dried up. As economic development leaders noted, the state's innovation fund to entice research and development businesses here has no money available, and a "quick-action closing fund" to help Florida compete against other states has only $13 million left.

The event at the Pepin Hospitality Centre was hosted by the Tampa Bay chapter of NAIOP, a trade group representing the commercial real estate industry, a sector particularly hard-hit by job loss.

In a sign of the times, chapter membership has fallen from 240 last year to fewer than 200 now. About 100 attended the summit.

Here's what some economic leaders are saying:

"I do sometimes worry about how Florida is perceived as not being as competitive with incentives."

Keith Norden, executive managing director of the Committee of One Hundred in Tampa

"I don't think any of us would kid ourselves that we're a well-oiled machine."

Bob Abberger, managing director for the development and investment group of Trammell Crow's Florida division

"There's $8 billion to $13 billion (in federal funds) out there to spend on high-speed rail and Florida has done more work on this than any other state. … We need a leader from the state to step up."

Stuart Rogel, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership

"There's a lot of interest (in expanding) from a lot of companies. The fundamental problem is they're not able to pull the trigger because they can't get the money."

Gene Gray, director of the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department

"What we need is broad-based growth, and that's not going to happen until the credit markets open up."

Mike Meidel, director of Pinellas County Economic Development

Economic leaders offer wish list for bay area job creation 05/27/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New DEP secretary says there's no conflict in political side businesses

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — When Noah Valenstein, the newly appointed head of the Department of Environmental Protection, was applying in April to be the state's top environmental regulator, he left one thing off the application: Companies he started and his wife runs have been paid nearly $1 million by politicians and lobbying …

     Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. He will take the helm on June 5, with a salary of $150,000 per year. [Florida Governor's Office]
  2. New stores coming to Tyrone Square Mall, like Bath & Body Works

    Retail

    Tyrone Square Mall will welcome a half dozen new stores, like Bath & Body Works and MidiCi's The Neapolitan Pizza Company, this summer.

  3. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  4. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall' bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Record rainfall in Los Angeles ultimately may end Tampa Bay's drought of hosting the Super Bowl.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)