Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. will expand production and refurbish existing lines for their ACUVUE® brand contact lenses in Jacksonville. The company will add 100 jobs with a capital investment of $218 million over three years. VISTAKON® is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family companies and currently employs about 1,800 individuals in Jacksonville.
For more than 20 years, the ACUVUE® brand has been dedicated to bringing the benefits of vision care to people around the globe. ACUVUE® transformed vision correction in 1987 with the world’s first mass market disposable contact lenses – now worn by more people than any other brand.
Governor Scott visited VISTAKON® in May to celebrate the elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and machinery. The sales tax elimination, along with no personal income tax and Florida’s 15 seaports, will allow manufacturers in the state to save costs, increase capital investments and hire more Florida workers. Thanks to the legislation, the company will save nearly $14 million in sales tax during this expansion.
Governor Scott said, “Our work to create the best business environment in the nation is making a difference. Last spring, we eliminated burdensome taxes on manufacturers. Now, VISTAKON® can re-invest their money into the community by creating jobs for Florida families. IT’S WORKING in Florida.”
Tim Ryan, VISTAKON® plant manager, said, “We are very excited about the potential to expand in Jacksonville, which is where we started this business 26 years ago. We’re looking forward to continued growth and success, and we appreciate the Governor visiting our plant twice to highlight the sales tax cut on manufacturing equipment.”
“Johnson & Johnson is one of the most well-known companies worldwide and we could not be happier that they are again expanding again in Jacksonville,” said Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Florida ranks first in the nation in Manufacturing Export Intensity, the percentage of our total manufactured goods that are exported. VISTAKON® has been very effective in utilizing Florida’s top export position and we know they will continue their success with this expansion.”
The project was made possible through strong partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the City of Jacksonville, JAXUSA, Workforce Florida, Inc., Department of Revenue and Department of Economic Opportunity. The State of Florida has awarded Capital Investment Tax Credit incentives to Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. for this expansion project.
“We are proud to work collaboratively with the State of Florida and all the stakeholders to bring quality jobs to Jacksonville,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “My administration is focused on projects like VISTAKON’s expansion to support targeted industries, make Jacksonville more competitive and keep our momentum for economic growth.”
“We welcome this expansion project for VISTAKON® in Northeast Florida and look forward to continued growth in the health and life sciences industry. We worked closely with our partners at Enterprise Florida and the City of Jacksonville to complete this project,” said Jerry Mallot, JAXUSA Partnership president. “Our economy is moving in a positive direction. We have enjoyed numerous announcements this year involving job creation and capital investment.”
“The growth of VISTAKON® demonstrates what we know about our great state — that Florida is a leading state for business expansion with a highly skilled and diverse workforce,” said Workforce Florida President/CEO Chris Hart IV. “We are proud to support the Jacksonville-area growth of one of Florida’s many innovative corporations and remain committed to ensuring employers such as VISTAKON have ready access to the workforce talent they need to compete and win in the global marketplace.”
“The Department of Revenue is happy to assist with this exciting project,” said Marshall Stranburg, Executive Director of the Department of Revenue. “The Department of Revenue works in conjunction with the Department of Economic Opportunity to administer several tax credits for new or expanding businesses coming to Florida. The Department assists those businesses in determining eligibility for and amounts available as credits, and we hope to work with more companies that see the improved business climate created in Florida.”
“The expansion of VISTAKON®in Jacksonville will not only create local jobs, but is evidence that the elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and machinery enables Florida companies to expand and hire more employees,” said Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio. “We congratulate VISTAKON® on their expansion and look forward to more businesses following their lead.”
Enterprise Florida, Inc. is a partnership between Florida’s business and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. Enterprise Florida’s mission is to facilitate job growth for Florida’s businesses and citizens leading to a vibrant statewide economy. In pursuit of its mission, Enterprise Florida works closely with a statewide network of economic development partners and is funded both by the State of Florida and by private-sector businesses.