On the heels of USF President Judy Genshaft’s announcement of the University’s economic impact on the Tampa Bay area, Gov. Jeb Bush visited the Research Park today to announce his plan for Florida’s economic growth.
Bush’s initiatives included recommending $630 million in investments to create new jobs and assist in Florida’s technological growth. Bush’s plan also includes an allotment of $250 million for the Florida Innovation Incentive Fund, $200 million for the continued funds of the 21st Century Technology, Research and Scholarship Enhancement Act, $75 million in tax credits for the Florida Capital Formation Program and $55 million to the state’s space and aeronautics industry.
“This significant state investment in Florida’s economy will create new jobs and foster growth of technology industries that yield high returns,” Bush said.
Bush’s plan cited an allocation of $100 million to the World Scholars Program, which would allow state universities to use that money to draw top researchers from around the country to Florida. The World Scholars Program would benefit USF in its plan to become one of the top 50 research universities in the country by allowing administrators to obtain some of the world’s top research minds.
$50 million of the funds would go to Florida’s Quick Action Closing Fund, a fund that pays cash to businesses willing to relocate to Florida and bring high-paying jobs with them.
“It is so important to have incentive programs like the Quick Action Closing Fund to attract companies to Florida,” said Kevin Carey, Chief administrative officer of Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation.
Carey was on hand with Gov. Bush presenting the new initiatives before most of the members of the Board of Trustees and many local city representatives.
According to an Associated Press report, Democrats in Florida’s House of Representatives disagreed with Bush’s approach, citing a need for more money in the educational system.
“Unfortunately, while the Republican agenda includes using tax dollars to temporarily lure businesses, the quality of our public schools and state universities has suffered,” state Rep. Anne Gannon, D-Delray Beach, said in the AP report. “Perhaps if we were to invest as much into public education, we wouldn’t need to be bribing corporations to come to our state in the first place.”
With the aforementioned programs in place, Florida has continued to flourish despite taking a large hit in tourism growth following the events of Sept. 11. Florida ranks No. 1 in the nation in job growth, a ranking it has held for 40 consecutive months. Bush’s proposal will be included in the budget he submits Wednesday.