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Politics

Tom Lee: Democrats' Attack on the Enterprise Florida Tie a ‘Political Charade’

February 19, 2013 - 6:00pm

The continued assault on Enterprise Florida's new business-recruitment logo, which features an orange tie in the place of the Floridas "I," has become a wasteful embarrassment, said Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon.

As Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development assailed the $100,000 logo and the accompanying plans to include it as part of a $3 million campaign to attract new business to the Sunshine State, Lee beckoned that such expressed indignation is a non-issue.

To suggest that businesses, whether its the state of Florida, McDonald's or Coca-Cola shouldnt have a logo, and shouldnt be promoting their brand, just defies any business principles, Lee said.

As someone who has been in real estate and home building business for 30 years, with master planned community developers, they spend a lot of money to brand their communities. And to me, with all due respect, I just think this is a political charade and its wasteful of my valuable time.

The new brand, with its accompanying tagline of Florida. The Perfect Climate for Business, is supposed to make one think of Floridas pro-business attributes, such as no personal income tax, growing global trade infrastructure and workforce.

With Gov. Rick Scott seeking a $256 million boost to the Department of Economic Opportunity for tax incentives and training grants, Democrats in the Senate ramped up the assault on the new Enterprise Florida business recruitment logo, which has been called sexist since being introduced on Jan. 31, and some questioned why a logo is even needed.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, said the brand should be about the sun, while the tie appears to exclude women in business.

I think you have narrowed the market with this orange tie. Youre targeting males, rather than women. I dont want to say this, but I think its sexist, and I think you need a different logo.

Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, added that the tie has become archaic, especially for those in Central and South Florida.

Most people that I do business with in the state, they dont wear ties, Ring said. Its a very casual state.

Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, asked why Florida needs a brand, instead using its marketing for additional incentives.

The selling point, as far as Im concerned, is in the incentives were offering, Gibson said. Clearly. since were being asked to put more money into the incentives pot, we dont need a brand.

Enterprise Florida Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Medley said the brand is part of the states new aggressive effort to grow jobs.

Incentives are a tool, but they are not the core of why a business chooses Florida, Medley said.


Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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