Monday, August 20, 2018
Business

Gov. Rick Scott signs billion-dollar business incentives plan into law

TALLAHASSEE — Flanked by leaders of Florida's top economic trade groups and agencies, Gov. Rick Scott signed a number of business tax cuts he says will accelerate economic development in the state.

"The passage of my jobs package is a great example of all of us working together to make Florida the best state to live and do business," he said Wednesday.

The economic development package includes more than $1 billion in tax cuts for businesses over the next three years. It features broad cuts of the unemployment tax and the corporate income tax, and targeted reductions for manufacturers, private plane repairers, and fruit and meat packers.

Scott said it's difficult to say definitively how certain targeted tax cuts will lead to job creation, but noted that the package helps make Florida a more competitive state for business expansion.

"If we want employers to hire more people, we've got to think like they do," said Scott, a former CEO. "We've got to keep their costs as low as they can. We've got to make sure that we're more competitive than any jurisdiction in the world."

House Speak Dean Cannon was among those in attendance, saying, "There's not a single bill that we can pass or any group of bills that will drive unemployment to zero and get our economy fully recovered. But we can create an environment that sends a signal of stability and predictability to job creators."

The public signing of HB 7087 and HB 7027 is the latest in a public relations push by Scott to shape the discussion about the job he's done as governor.

With gubernatorial elections still two years away, the Republican Party has been running television ads touting Scott's pro-business record.

Between oral arguments in the Supreme Court health care case and Trayvon Martin's death, Scott has seen a heavy dose of media attention in recent days. After speaking about Trayvon on CNN and MSNBC last weekend, Scott pivoted to touting Florida as a great place to do business before a national audience.

The state has added about 77,100 jobs since Scott took office in 2011, but 36,000 jobs were lost in January and several problems persist. Florida continues to lead the nation in stalled foreclosures and unemployment is persistently high, at 9.6 percent.

A new poll shows that 68 percent of Floridians believe that the state is still in recession.

The economic development package Scott signed Wednesday also includes bills that help the governor reduce regulations (HB 7029) and fire ineffective members of regional workforce boards (HB 7023).

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