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St. Pete exec extols virtues of doing business in Florida

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

In a survey of U.S. CEOs’ choice of best and worst states for business last year, Florida ranked second, finishing just behind Texas.

“We’ve learned from Texas how to tell our story better and it helps that we’ve cut taxes 25 times, by about $400 million,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott told Chief Executive Magazine. “When companies like Hertz, Amazon, Deutsche Bank and Verizon add jobs here, it causes more people to look at us. Business is comfortable that we’ll keep the tax base low and improve our workforce.”

The state grades so highly among CEOs for its “reasonable rules and regulations and a positive attitude towards business,” says one CEO to Chief Executive, speaking about Florida, Arizona and Texas.

Conversely, California was graded the worst in the country by the magazine, for the 10th year in a row.

Michael Mercier says that’s just a fact.

He’s the president of technology and logistics operations at Jagged Peak, an e-commerce software and services company with offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Last Thursday, Mercier introduced Gov. Scott at an appearance at the company’s St. Pete warehouse off Gandy Boulevard, where he praised Jagged Peak for creating jobs in Florida — 158 overall, and 35 in the past four years.

Mercier talked about his background in California, which he jokingly called “the dark side.”

Afterwards, Mercier opened up about why he thinks Florida is a better place for a company like his than in his former state.

“Culturally it’s a huge change,” he says of the difference between the two states. “But I’d say from a business standpoint it’s really been a blessing because California’s just harsh.”

Mercier was a lifelong Californian who attended Cal State-Long Beach and then received his graduate degree in business administration at USC.  He headed Towne AllPoints Communications in Santa Ana, California, which collaborated with Jagged Peak in 2007.

“I really think there’s a hostility to business,” he says of the Golden State. “Unless you’re a Silicon Valley company or green energy company, the state doesn’t really want to have too much to do with you so everybody else, smaller businesses in particular, are bearing the burden of all of that because we’re not staffed to come up with every change that happens almost daily or the mounds and mounds of paperwork that come with trying to get something done.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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