During a meeting today in Ybor City with Governor Rick Scott and several Tampa Bay area lawmakers, Representative Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) presented the attached letter in which he makes several suggestions to the governor. The text is below.
Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
I applaud your deliberative and aggressive approach to job creation in Florida since you have become Governor. You know as I do that a fully employed citizen is the cornerstone of our society. I think we can do more.
Your administration has identified that jobs and full employment have the greatest positive impact on society, more than anything we in government can do. We know that the greatest impact on reducing crime is a fully employed populous, not more prisons or longer incarcerations. We know that fully employed individuals are less likely to commit domestic violence and be contributing members of their communities. We know that fully employed citizens pay taxes and do not rely on welfare.
I have noticed that the thrust of your administration’s focus on job creation has been one of removing restraints from large businesses operating in Florida. But, as your administration has pointed out, we are number three in most rankings as far as the business climate, whether it is for taxes or regulations. So then why have we not had more success?
I believe it is because we have not pursued a partnership between these corporations, small businesses (who comprise 90% of Florida businesses) and our workers. This partnership is the axis of a prosperous community. As a state we need to put measures into place in a proactive way to assist business in creating more jobs and prosperity.
I would like to share with you some suggestions I have found from talking to working citizens and voters throughout the state.
Job Banks. Why in a state as large as Florida do we not create a database of all the jobs our employers want to fill and have it available though our labor department so that job seekers in Tampa could be matched with jobs opening in Miami. Make this available not only to those on unemployment but also those who are underemployed or those seeking to improve their current jobs. If it exists now let’s do a better of promoting and using it.
Job Re-training. We often hear talk of a new economy, but I see very little effort on the part of the state government to help our citizens help themselves. You as Governor could use your pulpit to bring more attention to our underutilized and underfunded Vocational training centers and help remove the stigma they have. Many jobs require specific training and do not require a college degree. Utilizing these centers could help us match business needs with a better trained work force. And most important give hope to workers in mid career that are forced out to new jobs.
Using the tax code. We can subsidize workers salaries while they receive on the job training to be more productive employees. Incentivize companies to hire chronically unemployed workers so we can remove them permanently from government assistance programs.
Middle class and working families. Your very thoughtful letter does not mention the middle class or the low income. I believe this was an inadvertent oversight and that these human beings, working families, are as important to you as the wealthy. As we relieve corporate America, we must do more to spread the costs of citizenship and provide relief to our struggling middle class and low income families.
These ideas are just a start, but reflect a philosophy of partnership that I feel has been left out of the current jobs and business climate equation. I always remember Henry Ford’s motto—if you don’t pay your workers an adequate wage, they can’t buy your products. I challenge you to explore these ideas and offer to partner with you to achieve our common goal of more and better jobs for all Floridians.
Representative Darryl E. Rouson