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House Speaker Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, bangs the gavel to end the day's business on the floor of the House Friday evening, May 5, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

Influence

Richard Corcoran stresses that incentives package won’t benefit Enterprise Florida

The House released a summary Friday of the economic incentives package unveiled by Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders. First on the list — and written in red, boldfaced letters — is what the $85 million program will not be: “a part of Enterprise Florida.”

What the program will do: pay for public infrastructure and workforce training; prohibit funding for any single business; and allow “critical, rapid” infrastructure investments benefiting the broader public.

“The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund will create both physical infrastructure and job training, and put taxpayers in the driver’s seat,” House Speaker Richard Corcoran said in a written statement.

“All Floridians know that Gov. Scott and I are committed to jobs. His willingness to work with us on this new model for economic development demonstrates that commitment, and is greatly appreciated in the House. It’s truly a model for the rest of the nation wrestling with ending corporate welfare.”

Scott, Corcoran, and Senate President Joe Negron announced the initiative that morning, during a news conference in Miami. They agreed to call a special session next week to take up the legislation, and also to add money for public education and Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-promotion organ.

Corcoran led opposition to a Enterprise Florida and additional economic incentives programs during the regular session. Scott traveled the state denouncing Corcoran — and House members who voted with Corcoran — for insufficient fealty to jobs creation.

The speaker stressed in a press release that some incentives did not make the cut. They include tax breaks for TV and movie production and sports stadiums.

The initiative would require that any infrastructure projects be publicly owned, with any lease or sale of public property at fair market value.

Job training programs would be restricted to public colleges or technical centers providing “transferable, sustainable workforce skills, which may not be confined to the skills required by any single employer.”

Investments would target economic growth in specific regions of the state, rather than individual companies.

Corcoran underlined that Visit Florida would be subject to increased financial scrutiny, including annual audits.

“This special session will secure Florida’s place as the premier tourist destination in America, while ensuring that Visit Florida is completely open accountable and transparent to the taxpayer,” Corcoran said.

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