The weather isn’t the only thing trying to lure snowbirds to the Sunshine State -- Gov. Rick Scott is doing his part to get Connecticut businesses to head down to Florida, making his pitch to companies and state politicians Monday in Norwalk.
Florida’s business climate, Scott said, is prime for companies who want the best of all worlds: low taxes, tax breaks, and an overall higher quality of life.
"My pitch is you should go ahead and give up ... capitulate, and come to Florida and make it easier on yourselves," Scott told an audience of Republican legislators Monday morning.
"If you want to live in a place that has lower taxes, less regulations, has good universities, is less expensive, where there's a greater chance your kids and grand kids are going to get a job, you're going to be in Florida," he said.
Connecticut news outlets reported Scott handed out handy comparison sheets contrasting the business climates of the Northeast state and Florida -- and the flyer made it clear there was no comparison to Florida’s “booming” economic growth.
Scott highlighted Florida as a “right to work state” with a higher private growth rate, no personal income tax, lower state debt per capita and better fiscal conditions as some of the other reasons businesses should choose to move to Florida versus staying put in places like Connecticut.
Another reason the governor said businesses should pack their bags and head south is Florida’s new, $85 million “Florida Job Growth Grant Fund,” a last-minute addition to the fiscal year budget to help boost economic development across the state.
The economic development plan was part of an eleventh-hour effort from lawmakers to strike a deal with the governor on other bills after they slashed funding for Scott’s economic agency, Enterprise Florida.
That Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, Scott said, will be a huge plus for making sure Florida gets the best businesses to bring money and economic development down to the Sunshine State.
Connecticut’s Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy criticized Scott for focusing on taking companies from other states while there were plenty of problems still waiting to be fixed in Florida.
“The truth is, no amount of money or effort will make up for the fact that Gov. Scott is leading his state in the wrong direction,” Malloy’s office said in a press release. “We are happy to host Mr. Scott to show him a better way to serve his state, but if he’s expecting anyone in Connecticut to buy what he’s selling, he’s better off saving his taxpayers the cost of the trip and staying home.”
Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.