Florida’s 2017 legislative session – one that included well-publicized attacks on Enterprise Florida and incentives – was a cause for concern among companies and site selectors evaluating the state for a relocation or expansion. Now that the session is behind us, I’m happy to report that Florida remains open for business. Our state’s economic development toolkit – which includes performance-based financial incentives – has been preserved.
Two incentive programs upon which many projects rely, Florida’s Qualified Target Industry (QTI) and Quick Response Training (QRT), have been funded. In addition, a new $85 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, which will provide dollars for public infrastructure and individual job training, has been created as well. Governor Scott signed the Economic Development bill on June 26. You can learn more about the specifics of this new fund here.
Here in Tampa and Hillsborough County, we are on track for another record year for job creation and capital investment. Our market is the top producer of high-wage business, financial and professional services jobs in the state. Tampa also continues to generate the highest number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs in Florida, thanks to our thriving, diverse tech industry.
But it’s the manufacturing industry that’s ready to break out and steal the economic development spotlight. There are twice as many manufacturing projects in our pipeline than financial services and information technology – two of our largest job-producing sectors. We’ll have plenty of exciting news to share with you in the next quarterly update – so stay tuned.
Have a great summer.
Craig J. Richard, CEcD, FM
CEO and President, Tampa Hillsborough EDC