Florida Governor Rick Scott is touring the state celebrating job creation and tax cuts. During a stop in St. Pete Monday on his “Million, Billion Jobs Victory Tour” Scott announced 44,300 new private sector jobs in the Tampa Bay area over the course of a year.
The region’s unemployment rate also dropped one percent to 4.8 percent in January. The state unemployment rate is five percent.
Scott stopped at Kobie Marketing in St. Pete for the announcement where that company recently announced it plans to add 255 new jobs over the next few years with 160 of those positions opening this year.
Kobie Marketing Chief Financial Officer Ashby Green attributed the company’s success to Scott’s commitment to lowering taxes for businesses. Scott’s victory tour is claiming to have created more than one million jobs since 2010 and to have cut taxes by $1 billion over the course of two years.
Scott said very little other than announcing the latest jobs numbers instead leaving the talking to a host of support from Republican lawmakers. Senators Jack Latvala and Jeff Brandes both praised Scott for his commitment to creating jobs with a pro-business, free market approach.
“I think your focus is largely responsible for the million new jobs, for the resurgence of our economy in Florida,” Latvala said.
Representatives Chris Sprowls, Kathleen Peters and Larry Ahern also thanked and congratulated Scott. Citrus County Representative Jimmie Smith also praised the Governor’s work saying it’s even had an effect on rural areas like his district.
“It’s having a ripple effect throughout the state,” Smith said.
St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman was on hand but was not quite as congratulatory as the others. He said he supported Scott’s plan to inject $250 million into the state’s Enterprise Fund that was axed by the Florida House. The money would have been used to incentivize businesses to relocate or expand in Florida.
The job markets most impacted by the latest growth numbers include professional and business services. Those industries expanded by 14,900 new jobs. The leisure and hospitality industry created 9,100 new jobs.
The Tampa Bay region was also first in the state for job demand in January with nearly 45,000 job openings. Nearly 15,000 of those openings were in the targeted high-skill industries in science, technology, engineering and math.
“This state’s on a roll,” Scott said. “These jobs are creating more tax revenues in our state so we can cut taxes and we can invest in priorities for our state.”