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Here’s a big issue where the Republican candidates for governor differ

State spending on economic development and tourism promotion is a dividing line
Published Feb. 1, 2018

We have yet to hear significant policy differences between the Democrats running for governor this year, but that's not the case with the Republicans. Consider the matter of luring Amazon's new headquarters to Miami, one of the 20 finalists for what would be a massive economic development coup.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran said he has zero interest in developing a state economic development plan to entice Amazon and expressed doubts Miami has a real shot anyway.

From the News Service of Florida:

"Here's what we ought to do as a state. I'll say it until I'm blue in the face," Corcoran said. "There are five things that site selectors look at. The most important being having a great educational system."

Corcoran said the key factor in Florida losing out to Boston in trying to attract the General Electric headquarters was that the Boston area had better schools, from kindergarten through the university level.

He said Florida — the third largest state in the nation — in contrast only recently had one of its schools, the University of Florida, make the U.S. News & World Report top 10 list of public universities.

"That's a problem," Corcoran said. "There's where the investments should have been made and should continue to be made. If you have low crime, low taxes, low regulation, a good infrastructure and you have, more than anything, a great educational system, we will not have a single problem luring all the businesses and all the people in this country here."

Here's what Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told The Buzz about the state offering incentives to Amazon:

"When you have an opportunity to have game-changing job creators come to our state and are going to keep our brightest and best here, I think we can roll up our sleeves and compete. You have to be transparent about it, and you have to negotiate in a way that taxpayers understand and are aware of. But Florida has to be willing to sell Florida, whether it's advertising for tourism or fighting for jobs."

And here's what U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis had to say about incentives for Amazon: No comment.

A DeSantis campaign spokesman said he would ask the congressman about the matter, and then declined to respond to multiple follow ups. DeSantis, by the way, also has declined to take a position on restoring voting rights for felons.


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