A Wednesday meeting of the Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee moved the council one step closer to a resolution of support for the beleaguered state incentive program Enterprise Florida.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s Office of Economic Development offered its own take on Enterprise Florida, and incentive programs in general.
The pro-Enterprise Florida resolution cleared the Rules Committee on Tuesday, with no resistance whatsoever, as a number of council members have become enthusiastic advocates for the program.
The same held true for Finance on Wednesday.
The second piece of the discussion: a presentation from OED head Kirk Wendland, who has sounded the alarm call in recent weeks for incentives.
Wendland, noting that his department’s programs are transparent, said that he wished he had breaking news.
He did extend optimism, citing a lack of a companion bill in the Senate to the House bill that scuttled Enterprise Florida.
The Senate budgeted $80M for Enterprise Florida, $5M short of the governor’s budget.
“We’re sitting on two situations here that are pretty far apart,” Wendland said.
“Most knowledgeable people,” Wendland asserted, see the funding for EFI as “one of those last-minute buzzer-beater situations.”
“We’re in wait and see mode,” Wendland said.
Gov. Rick Scott has made multiple trips to the Jacksonville market in recent weeks pushing incentives and pushing against State Representatives who voted to scuttle them.
In terms of visibility for his efforts, they have paid off big league.
In terms of the ultimate viability of the incentive program, however, there are still open questions.