Advertisement
  1. Business

Trigaux: Florida Gov. Rick Scott's recruiting visit sparks California backlash

Published Apr. 16, 2015

Tackling the big kahuna of his business recruitment tour of Democratic-led states, Gov. Rick Scott visited California this week urging companies and West Coast ports to bring their business to cheaper, friendlier Florida.

"You have a beautiful state," Scott told the San Francisco Chronicle as he prepared to talk to about 500 business leaders in Southern California. "But if you look at our state and its successes, we're creating jobs and diversifying our economy," he said. "People are moving their money to Florida."

Scott's trip was supplemented by $17,000 in radio and $49,000 in "Florida Is Ready!" print ads slamming California's business climate as inhospitable and targeting California's shipping business after the recent damaging West Coast port labor dispute estimated to have cost the U.S. economy nearly $2 billion a day.

It's a familiar strategy by Scott. His recent recruiting trip to the Philadelphia area was criticized as "poaching" by Pennsylvania business leaders.

While Scott's California tour was encouraged by some West Coast groups endorsing lower taxes and less regulation, other pro-business organizations retaliated with some slings and arrows of their own at Florida's governor and his state's economy.

"Scott is treating cost as the only priority for companies. If that were the case, we'd all be living in Mississippi," opined Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council, in the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

California clearly dominates the United States in innovation. The state boasts 54 headquarters of Fortune 500 corporations that include such worldwide brands as Apple, Google, Walt Disney, Intel and Wells Fargo.

Florida's top Fortune 500 company is the little-known World Fuel Services.

California's Silicon Valley alone attracted nearly $25 billion in venture capital last year, about half of all VC funding invested in the entire country.

In 2014, Florida statewide attracted $863 million in venture capital funding.

Broome, in his Bee piece and on California radio, panned Florida as an economic lightweight run by a governor unpopular in his own state, one that ranks low in education, lacks a renewable energy policy and — laughed Broome playing to his California audience — whose own regulators were allegedly told not to use the word "climate change."

"No state has ever poached their way to long-term prosperity," spokesman Brook Taylor of California's Office of Business and Economic Development told the Chronicle.

Scott's recruiting trip even spawned a digital battle between Florida and California on Twitter using the hash tag #FlvsCa. California posted one telling graphic calling Florida "The Zero State" for its relatively low number of patents (a measure of innovation), its lack of renewable energy compared with California by 2020, and the sharply higher profitability of California companies (given the large volume of tech firms) over their Florida counterparts.

Broome says California is not accustomed to defending itself from the recruiting advances of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and, as Broome suggested, the Perry wanna-be that is Scott.

Said Broome: "When these governors come into California, we have to rough them up."

Rough away. But give some credit to Scott for pitching Florida opportunities while visiting a state with the eighth-largest economy in the world. Surely there are some low-hanging corporate fruits to be plucked with the appeal of lower taxes and cheaper wages, a package of state incentives to sweeten a relocation, and some official (wink, wink) assurances the climate isn't changing in Florida.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay homeowners are now able to sell their homes to Zillow. Zillow
    It joins Opendoor and Offerpad in making "instant'' offers.
  2. The microbrewery Double Branch Artisanal Ales is the first tenant signed at The Grove after the acquisition of the Wesley Chapel shopping center last month by Mishorim-Gold Properties for nearly $63 million. Double Branch Artisanal Ales.
    Mark Gold wants The Grove at Wesley Chapel to become the community’s downtown
  3. Jeffrey D. Senese was inaugurated as Saint Leo University's 10th president. Pictured, Monsignor Robert Morris (left), Class of 1979, and a member of the board of trustees, and D. Dewey Mitchell, chair of the university’s board of trustees, bestow the presidential medallion on Senese. Renee Gerstein and William Speer, Saint Leo University
    New and notes on local businesses
  4. Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni (center) was awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. With her are Matt Romeo, President of PrimeCare (left), and Dr. Pariksith Singh, CEO, Access Health Care Physicians. Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses
  5. Tampa Bay Lighting host a watch party on the beach at the Tradewinds resort on St. Pete Beach in February. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    TradeWinds is the biggest resort in Pinellas County.
  6. A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from over Tampa Bay.
    The news that the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation wants to change its name to include “Tampa Bay” has been met with resistance.
  7. The Whole Coffee Company makes Dunkin’-branded Coffee Thins as well as Tim Hortons Double Double bars and its own Whole Coffee Company-branded nudge coffee bars. (Photo courtesy The Whole Coffee Company) The Whole Coffee Company
    The Whole Coffee Company, which is based in Miami, was previously known as Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa. ProspEquity Partners of Tampa owns a majority stake in Whole Coffee.
  8. The Corona Cove opens as the Florida Aquarium's new outdoor bar. The beer company is pledging continued donations to aid conservation efforts. Florida Aquarium
    The beer company also has pledged donations to aid conservation efforts.
  9. The Triton cantaloupe, created with help from Eckerd College. Eckerd College
    The St. Petersburg college teamed up with a central Florida plant breeder to create the Triton cantaloupe.
  10. FILE - In this May 14, 2019, fiel photo, containers are piled up at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China’s economic growth slowed to a 26-year low in the latest quarter as a tariff war with Washington weighed on exports and auto sales and other domestic activity weakened. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.2 percent in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6 percent, data showed Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. AP
    Growth in the world’s second-largest economy slipped to 6% in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.2%, data showed Friday.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement