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Rick Scott uses job growth data to bolster incentives request

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that Florida’s private sector job growth rate led all large states last month. He used the news to ask the Legislature for $250 million in Enterprise Florida money.

“Florida continues to lead other large states, including our No. 1 competitor Texas, in job growth because our pro-business, low-tax policies are out-competing other locations as a top place for jobs,” Scott said in a news release. “Florida’s economy is booming, but we cannot become complacent or slow down our efforts to make Florida first in the world for job creation.”

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Florida gained 8,700 private sector jobs in September, which is behind Texas’ 31,200 jobs and New York’s 11,400. Where Florida leads is in the growth rate over the last year.

The 12 months ending in September 2015 saw the Sunshine State at 234,400 private-sector jobs, which outpaces Texas and New York. California added more jobs during that time, but its rate was below Florida’s. At 3.4 percent, Florida’s job growth rate was third among all states, behind Utah and South Carolina.

Scott used the job gains to call for a major funding increase to Enterprise Florida, which gives incentives to companies that add jobs or move their businesses to Florida. Earlier this week, Scott said he wanted $250 million in funding for Enterprise Florida

Enterprise Florida was funded at $43 million last year, or about half of the $85 million Scott asked for, and Scott has been pushing for a funding increase ever since. The $250 million request would be Enterprise Florida’s highest funding level yet, if approved. Incentives were funded at $102 million in the 2013 budget and $71 million in 2014.

Scott also wants a faster approval process for getting incentive funds to companies. His plan would require any deal needing more than $1 million in incentive funds to be approved by the Senate president, House Speaker and the governor, rather than the whole Legislature.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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