A Florida house budget panel recently voted against funding an economic development agency as well as the state’s tourism bureau.
JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis was on First Coast Connect Monday to discuss the future of Enterprise Florida, an organization that provides business incentives to bring jobs to the state, which JAX Chamber relies heavily on. The bill also aims to reduce state funding for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism bureau.
Governor Rick Scott said it’s needed to increase economic development, while House Speaker Richard Corcoran intends to eliminate funding for both organizations, calling it corporate welfare. The debate leads up to the legislative session March 7.
Davis said local business leaders want those incentives to stay.
He said the city’s economic development leaders have worked closely with Enterprise Florida to bring thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in capital investment to the community.
“Regardless of the size of your business, we are creating jobs, and economic growth has a huge impact on our city,” he said.
Performance-based economic incentives are critical to bring new jobs to Jacksonville, he said. Davis said protecting taxpayers and improving the incentive process is critical for the state.
“If you don't do what you said you were going to do, you don't receive any taxpayer dollars,” he said.
Enterprise Florida is essential in bringing jobs to Jacksonville and Davis is committed to working with state leaders to reach a solution that allows Florida to remain competitive.
“We are in a stiff competition with these states (Alabama and Georgia) and we need to win these jobs,” he said.