Rick Scott's team bashes Tampa Bay Times story that challenges his economic record

Sunday brought the first of a hyped three-part series in the Tampa Bay Times on Rick Scott's economic record, entitled "Big Promises, Small Gains." The key statistic? The Times reports that "96 percent of the jobs that Scott promised during his 2010 campaign for governor remain unfulfilled."

But but late Sunday morning the Governor's communications team had fired back with an over 1,100-word response refuting numerous charges made in the paper.

Specifically they dispute 12 specific charges made in the lead story of the package, which is led by Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau Chief Steve Bosquet (In a bit of a slight to the Times, the Scott press release refers to the story as only being written by the Herald. Regarding the charge that the total number of jobs).

Here's the entire press release, after the jump:


Governor Scott’s Strong Record of Economic Growth Detailed, RE: Miami Herald’s Story

“In the four years before Governor Scott took office, hundreds of thousands of jobs had been lost. Since the Governor took office, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created. Under Governor Scott, companies are choosing to move to Florida from other states, reversing years when Florida was considered uncompetitive for job creation projects. There is no doubt that Governor Scott’s job creation policies are working. But, there is still more work to be done to develop an opportunity economy that creates jobs for generations to come.” — Melissa Sellers, Communications Director, Governor Rick Scott

MYTH: “Of the jobs Scott can influence most, only a fraction now exist.”

FACT: The Miami Herald’s statement ignores the many state economic policies that support economic growth beyond just those companies who compete for state incentive funds. Economic policies including tax cuts, and repealing burdensome regulations contribute to increased business investment and job creation. Florida added more jobs in the month of October than any other state in the country. The state’s addition of more than 440,000 new private sector jobs under Governor Scott stands in sharp contrast to the more than 800,000 jobs lost in the four years before Governor Scott took office. CEO Magazine now ranks Florida #2 in the nation for job creation, up from #6 in 2010, before the Governor took office.

MYTH: “The total number of new jobs Scott ultimately might deliver doesn't offset the jobs lost at companies with more than 100 workers in the same time period.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to acknowledge the creation of 440,000 private sector jobs under Governor Scott, and incorrectly makes an apples-to-apples comparison between job gains through incentive deals with a select group of companies who adjusted their employment for any reason whatsoever over the same time.

MYTH: “The jobs outlook isn’t better in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, where Scott inked deals to create 5,456 jobs in exchange for $25.2 million tax incentives and breaks. Jobs created to date: 61.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that many of these projects have timelines from five to 10 years. Governor Scott has only been in office for about three years, leaving many years for companies to meet their legally binding job creation/capital investment goals.

MYTH: “Two years after Scott agreed to spend $250,000 renovating a Kissimmee warehouse for Colt's Manufacturing Company, the building sits empty.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to include that under Colt’s agreement with the state, the company’s jobs are not due until the end of calendar year 2013.

MYTH: “Nearly a year after Scott hailed news of 350 jobs at a sawmill in struggling Suwannee County, construction is just beginning.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that this company is facing delays at their construction site due to naturally occurring sinkholes.

FACT: Additionally, the jobs for this project are not contractually due to the state until the end of calendar year 2013 and 2014.

MYTH: “For hundreds of other projects, the state website that tracks jobs data, Floridajobs.org, shows the same number of jobs created during Scott's tenure: 0.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that each of the projects listed on the economic development portal have their own timeline for job creation/capital investment. Many company timelines average around five to 10 years, and Governor Scott has only been in office for about three years — leaving many years left for companies to meet their legally binding job creation requirements with the state.

MYTH: “For example, Bi-Lo Holdings, corporate parent of the Winn-Dixie grocery chain, stands to get $3.6 million in incentives to keep its headquarters in Jacksonville and create 100 new jobs over 11 years. That's a $36,000 bonus for every job created, the highest cost per job of any incentive deal during Scott's term, according to the Times and Herald analysis. State officials say the figure is so high because Bi-Lo also agreed to retain 891 existing jobs at an average salary of $81,000 and make $81 million in capital investments. The state and Bi-Lo struck the deal on June 1, 2012, but 18 months later, the state confirms zero Bi-Lo jobs.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that Bi-Lo’s agreement has already retained 891 jobs and the company’s new jobs are not due under their agreement until the end of calendar year 2013.

FACT: The Miami Herald incorrectly reports that the per-job incentive total is “$36,000.” It is, in fact, $3,633.

MYTH: “Evolution promises to hire 40 people over the next two years — salesmen, mechanics, accountants — with an average salary of $40,000. The company is starting small, with a sales center in a small building. The state lists no jobs created yet.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that the jobs under the agreement for this project are not due until the end of calendar year 2013.

MYTH: “Home Source, a maker of furniture, lighting and textile products, plans to employ 303 people at an average wage of $14 an hour in a region desperate for jobs. Scott approved $1.4 million in immediate incentives in May 2012 that paid for improvements to the building, but the jobs are slow in coming: the company says 23 so far.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that the jobs for this project under their agreement are not due until the end of 2013. Additionally, these incentive funds under the agreement go to the local government to reimburse the cost of the facility renovations.

MYTH: “He has offered tax breaks and incentives for a Sam’s Club discount store in St. Petersburg, a Miami-Dade Walmart…”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that the Brownfield incentive focuses on the redevelopment of blighted site and is not dependent on wage requirements like most other incentives.

MYTH: “Navy Federal Credit Union plans 1,500 jobs in Pensacola by the same year.”

FACT: The Miami Herald fails to report that Navy Federal’s 2012 project is more than a year ahead of schedule in their job creation requirements. They have retained 1,944 people, created 140 net new jobs, and also purchased land at more than $3.75 million for a portion of their capital investment requirements.

MYTH: “A $280,000 sales tax refund for DTW covers the moving costs of all 40 employees, Statile said. The incentive was a factor, but so were Florida's lack of a state personal income tax and the island's proximity to the ocean.”

FACT: Pam Statile, President, dtw Marketing Research Group, Inc. said, “A number of factors went into our decision to move to FL, including the business friendliness of the state, the absence of income tax, the weather, the ocean, the labor pool, AND the tax refund incentive. We never intended to move 40 employees and will not, the balance between those who have moved (14 employees) would be new, local hires. We do not look at the incentive as a cost offset to our moving employees, I’m not even sure the maximum incentive will cover the cost of relocation.”


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