Governor’s Budget Supports Increased Economic Development and Job Creation

Jan 31, 2013


CONTACT: DEO Communications, 850.617.5600,




Expanding and diversifying Florida’s economy and streamlining the state’s benefits system are highlights of the Governor’s budget proposal for DEO


TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott today announced his 2013-2014 Florida Families First Budget recommendations for the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) that are focused on job creation, increased economic development, and workforce training initiatives. The Governor’s complete budget can be found at


DEO Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “Funding proposed by Governor Scott for the Department of Economic Opportunity will help identify job creation and economic development opportunities, create economically competitive communities, and assist Florida’s workforce with finding employment. We have a responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and look forward to continuing to identify ways our agency can be transparent, accountable, and efficient, while having a positive effect on Florida families.”


DEO was created to help streamline Florida’s economic development processes and to ensure the state can respond more efficiently and effectively to any job creation opportunities. DEO works collaboratively with the state’s workforce and economic development entities in Workforce Florida, Inc. and Enterprise Florida, Inc. as well as the local regional workforce boards, community action agencies and regional planning councils around the state to ensure coordination among the different organizations and to help strengthen Florida’s competitive communities. 


Economic Development Incentives Put Floridians Back to Work

Governor Scott continues his commitment to growing and diversifying Florida’s economy by proposing $279 million in non-recurring funds focused on various economic development programs, incentives, and activities to recruit new businesses to Florida. Economic incentives have had a long and successful history in Florida, and the Governor’s latest budget would allow the state to attract the next generation of businesses and increase the number of jobs available to Florida families. The Governor is also proposing a $36 million fund to recognize and reward economic development best practices and achievements throughout the state.


Economic development incentives are an important and effective tool in Florida’s toolkit to recruit new businesses to the state. Through incentives, Florida has seen more than 103,000 new jobs created for Floridians, resulting in higher average annual wages. In the last three years, businesses utilizing Florida’s incentives have produced 52 percent more jobs than required and paid an average wage 59 percent higher than required. Additionally, economic development incentives have a remarkable success rate: there have been 1,600 incentive transactions and only three have failed (two of which circumvented the traditional vetting and approval process), which calculates to a 99 percent success rate, or a good bet on Florida business.    


"Every day, our team sells value, which drives business activity here.  Often, there are times we must use incentive tools to compete for high-value jobs and new industry, both being vital to Florida's economy," said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state's lead economic development organization.  "Winning competitive projects provide our citizens with the opportunity to live well and work in this state."


The cooperation between Enterprise Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity combines both private ingenuity and public accountability to the business of bringing jobs to Florida.


Helping Communities Grow Through Responsible Planning

Promoting innovative planning and development strategies to support a diverse economy, preserving the beauty and natural resources that attract millions of visitors, and convincing tens of thousands of people to call the Sunshine State home each year are all important to ensuring Florida’s long-term success. DEO’s Bureau of Community Planning provides technical assistance to local governments as they plan for future growth while protecting those areas of the state that make their communities unique. The 2011 Community Development rewrite has yielded a significant savings, localized planning, and reduced the burden of overregulation. Governor Scott has proposed $1.2 million to continue this success, to help local governments with their comprehensive growth plans, and to work with local governments in those regions deemed Areas of Critical State Concern including the City of Key West and the Florida Keys, the Green Swamp, Big Cypress Swamp and the City of Apalachicola.


Project Connect Will Streamline Reemployment Assistance

Governor Scott’s focus on streamlining the Reemployment Assistance claims process for claimants and identifying efficiencies to reduce program costs to taxpayers continues with his proposal for $1.19 million to continue the development and implementation of the new Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System replacement project called “Project Connect.” The Governor has also requested $1.2 million needed for the last year of the project’s development.  The new system will reduce or eliminate operational costs of current practices that are labor intensive, cumbersome, and inefficient in all areas of the current Reemployment Assistance Program, and will help streamline the process for claimants. The new system will save $43 million per year, allowing the project’s costs to be recovered within two years of deployment.  Project Connect will be fully implemented in October 2013.


Empowering the Regional Workforce Boards to Get People Back to Work

Through Florida’s nationally recognized workforce system, DEO assists Workforce Florida, Inc., and 24 Regional Workforce Boards with strengthening Florida’s business climate by responding to the talent needs of employers and helping Floridians seeking to enter or advance in the workforce, gain employment and improve their skills through training. Governor Scott’s focus on ensuring Florida has a skilled and talented workforce available for current and future employers is reflected in his budget proposal to utilize an additional $55.3 million in available federal workforce dollars to bring total funding to $289 million. This will allow DEO to respond effectively to its goal of providing expert guidance and technical assistance to workforce boards and ensuring the local boards have the tools and resources needed to connect job seekers to employment and ensure businesses have a ready and skilled talent pool.


Increasing Tourism to Florida Brings Jobs

As the state’s number one industry, tourism is responsible for attracting tens of millions of visitors and billions of dollars to Florida each year, and the Governor’s budget proposes an additional $31.5 million for VISIT Florida to continue its contribution to Florida’s economic growth, bringing its total funding to $75 million. More than 89 million tourists visited Florida in 2012 and for every eight tourists that visit Florida, one permanent job is created.


Strengthening Florida’s Communities

Assisting communities to empower themselves and help their residents while also ensuring they can compete for jobs and business is one of Governor Scott’s priorities. DEO’s Community Development and Community Assistance programs provide federal funding to local governments to help them attract and/or retain businesses and fix blighted areas while creating jobs in their community. The grant also provides much needed assistance to citizens to help them achieve self-sufficiency and providing energy efficient repairs to homes and utility payments for those in need. Governor Scott’s proposal of $148 million would go toward helping local governments and Floridians who are in need of assistance.


No Additional Tax Credits Requested for the Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive Program

DEO has not requested any additional tax credits for this program.  The Office of Film and Entertainment has allocated almost all credits provided through fiscal year 2015-16.  This incentive provides a tax credit (rather than a cash payment) to qualified productions on a first-come, first-served basis within the production’s statutory category.


Litigation with Digital Domain

DEO has requested a $500,000 reserve to continue the legal fight against Digital Domain.  DEO is committed to holding all businesses accountable to taxpayers, even projects that were approved outside of the state’s traditional vetting and approval process, and will pursue the return of state dollars from defunct and deceptive businesses like Digital Domain.


The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce, and community development efforts. This new approach helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit



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