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Tampa Bay business people react to Obama's economic plans

What area people are saying

"I am not sure there is any one magic cure for anything like this. The economy is such a big, complex thing. Hopefully (the stimulus plans) will slow the decline and speed the recovery. "

John Ramil, president and chief operating officer of TECO Energy

"I'm reasonably confident that (stimulus) will end the downward spiral; what I'm not smart enough to know is what happens after that. … I like the fact that they're doing some infrastructure. I think that's terribly important. We have huge needs here. …I also very much like job creation (initiatives). What we look at with our members pure and simple is jobs. ''

Tom Dorety, president and CEO of the $6 billion Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union in Tampa, who traveled to President Obama's town hall meeting Tuesday in Fort Myers

"I am extremely confident in Treasury Secretary Geithner's bank plan. It is well-designed to free up desperately needed credit. … The problem with the stimulus package will be long-term when we have to deal with the inflationary impact of this 'printed money.' Let's take care of the short term first and worry about that later. This mess has been a long time brewing and will not be corrected overnight."

Craig Sher, executive chairman, Sembler Co., St. Petersburg

"The Obama administration has the correct infrastructure — knowing that solar and renewable are the future and the key to turning our troubled economy around. … (What I like least is) the uphill battle we will have with resistance from utilities, big oil, nuclear, coal, etc."

Wayne Wallace, president of Solar Source in Largo

"I believe we're in a vast uncharted territory in terms of our nation's current economic condition. The Obama plan is a decent start. We need to do something to shore up our banks, but I am concerned — given the speed with which the stimulus plan is being formulated — about the oversight function that will be put in place. … I hope some of the funds from the stimulus plan will be pushed down to the states. In my opinion, they can figure out the most effective way to deploy the dollars."

Robin Kovaleski, executive director, Tampa, Florida Venture Forum, which represents the venture capital industry in the state

"I am hopeful, but not necessarily confident. … To get the economy moving again, there must be ready access to credit for all sectors of the American economy. (The part I like least is) I don't know where the plan will end. . . . If the plan does not work, will the Obama administration go back to Congress and the American people and ask for even more money? I worry when the federal government enters the private sector. How does government get out once it is in?"

Terry Ward, Realtor with St. Petersburg's Tourtelot Brothers

"If we look at the last two efforts to correct the economy, we blindly gave money to the financial institutions of this country with no restrictions or oversight to ensure that the true spirit of the legislation was carried out and we followed that with a proposed bailout of the automobile industry that rewarded bad corporate management and stewardship. … (This time) the entirety of the actual housing stimulus is hidden in the overall line item for transportation, housing and urban development. . . . Yet the actual impact of the decline in housing is great and in my opinion not appropriately represented."

Jim Deitch, chief operating officer of Southern Crafted Homes in Land O'Lakes

"I think there's a good chance we'll work our way out, and the stimulus could speed that up by six or eight months. Some time in 2010.

Martin Rothchild, general manager of the Embassy Suites Tampa-USF

Times staff writers Robert Trigaux, Jeff Harrington, Asjylyn Loder, James Thorner and Steve Huettel contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay business people react to Obama's economic plans 02/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 12:02am]
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