Tampa Tribune Mischaracterizes Business Incentive Program
Florida Governor Rick Scott is fighting back against the Tampa Tribune. After the Allied Veterans scandal, which barely a whisper is being heard about, Rick Scott did take the time to provide this on his website to retaliate against the Tampa Tribune.
The Tampa Tribune mischaracterized Florida’s business incentive program to make a political statement in its recent article, “State’s incentives less successful than advertised” (March 31, 2013). The Department of Economic Opportunity fully discloses economic incentives and requires performance as part of an ongoing effort in transparency and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. As part of that effort, a first-of-its-kind incentives portal was developed detailing every non-confidential incentive project with an executed contract since 1996 that received, or is on schedule to receive, payments.
Claim: “Legislators are getting misleading information from the state’s own report card on economic incentives.”
FACT: Legislators receive complete information on ALL projects, including the inactive, pending inactive, and terminated projects. Because there are no future measurement requirements or payments scheduled for inactive, pending inactive, and terminated projects, no jobs would be due.
Claim: “13 companies that signed up for the grant program but failed to create the required number of jobs are not included in the official results.”
FACT: Companies that failed to create their required number of jobs are not in the official results because they returned economic incentives provided and have no additional commitment to Florida taxpayers. These projects are still included on the list, but their numbers are no longer included because no jobs are required.
Claim: “[T]wo other companies listed as hitting their job targets are 1,300 jobs behind schedule.”
FACT: When companies are behind schedule they do not totally fail to create jobs. Incentive contracts are formatted to expand or contract based on performance levels.
Claim: “Evidence shows that rather than beating expectations, as the state suggests, the upfront grant program is thousands of jobs behind schedule.”
FACT: This is completely false. The Closing Fund incentives have met or exceeded performance. At the time the incentives report was published, 9,192 jobs were due and 9,776 had been confirmed, several hundred more than the target.
Claim: “[N]early half of the companies in the Quick Action Closing Fund program had failed to hit the state’s timetables for jobs, capital investment or both.”
FACT: Most QACF projects lead to some level of job creation and/or retention. If businesses do not achieve their full projections, state funding is adjusted accordingly and the company may be required to repay state funds. The program is designed to be a winning investment for workers who get new jobs and Florida taxpayers.
Claim: “The most embarrassing recent failure was last summer’s collapse of Digital Domain.”
FACT: As confirmed by the recent Inspector General report, the previous administration circumvented the state’s incentive approval process to get the Digital Domain project approved.
Claim: “13 companies labeled ‘inactive,’ ‘pending inactive” or ‘terminated’ are listed as having no jobs due. In fact, the contracts required those 13 companies to create about 4,500 jobs. Their contracts suggest at least 2,000 are due.”
FACT: Legislators receive complete information on ALL projects, including the inactive, pending inactive, and terminated projects. Because there are no future measurement requirements or payments scheduled for inactive, pending inactive, and terminated projects, no jobs are due.