FEDC Inside Track for Legislative Affairs: Governor Crist Outlines Economic Incentive Budget, Higher Education Priorities

Jan 29, 2010

Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced his $307.5 million economic incentive budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2010-11 at a meeting of Enterprise Florida’s Board of Directors on January 28, 2010.  The Governor, who chairs the Board, recommended budget increases in key business sectors, including information technology, aviation and aerospace, defense, biotechnology, tourism, sports, and film and entertainment through the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development.

Also, Governor Crist outlined his 2010-11 budget priorities for Florida’s colleges and universities to the State’s Board of Governors of its 11 state universities.  The Governor’s $7.1 billion higher education budget, includes a $100-million increase to state universities to build research and education capacity in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine and a $67-million increase for Florida’s 28 community colleges to meet rising enrollment without increasing tuition.

The press releases below that were issued from the Office of the Governor on January 28 provide additional details on each budget announcement.


Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Tracy Mayernick (tmayernick@cftlaw.com) at Colodny Fass.


Governor Crist Announces Education Investments to Promote Innovation and High-Wage Job Opportunities for Floridians

$7.1 billion to support higher education with no proposed tuition increases by the state

TAMPA – Governor Charlie Crist today addressed the Board of Governors of Florida’s 11 state universities, applauding their innovative New Florida: Building Florida’s Knowledge Economy initiative and outlining his 2010-11 budget priorities for Florida’s colleges and universities.  The Governor proposed $7.1 billion for higher education, including a $100-million increase to state universities to build research and education capacity in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM).  The Governor also announced a $67-million increase for Florida’s 28 community colleges to meet rising enrollment without increasing tuition.

“Education is the engine that drives the economy for Florida. This $7.1-billion investment in our institutions of higher learning will help us continue the strong push toward building an economy based on knowledge and innovation,” Governor Crist said. “All Floridians will reap the benefits of these investments resulting in opportunities for job training, job preparedness, and ultimately job creation.”

Governor Crist recently called on Florida’s Talent Supply Chain – the Board of Governors, Agency for Workforce Innovation, Department of Education and Workforce Florida – to embrace a new era of collaboration by formally partnering with Florida’s business leaders to develop a strategic plan to ensure Florida’s workforce is equipped to meet the demands of a global, knowledge-based economy of the 21st century. The shared strategy will ensure students can access educational opportunities and gain skills that will increase Florida’s economic competitiveness.

Governor Crist’s higher education budget priorities include $3.6 billion for the state university system. He recommended $5 million for state university research commercialization matching grants.  While the Governor proposed no tuition increase for resident undergraduates at Florida’s state universities, state universities have the continued authority to increase the tuition differential fee by up to 15 percent.

Governor Crist also recommended $2 billion to support community colleges, including $9.5 million to maintain bachelor’s degree programs offered by colleges within the Florida College System.  Governor Crist proposed no tuition increase for resident undergraduates at community colleges.

About Florida’s Colleges

The Florida College System serves as a model for other states. For the seventh year in a row, Community College Week reported that Florida has several of the leading degree-producing public community colleges in the nation.

About Florida’s State University System

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine identified five of Florida’s state universities among the “Top 100 Best Values in Public Colleges,” with the University of Florida, New College of Florida, and Florida State University ranked among the top 20.  In addition, the University of Central Florida and University of South Florida were ranked in the top 60.

U.S. News & World Report recognized several Florida institutions based on academic excellence.  The University of Florida and Florida State University were recognized within the “Top Public National Universities.”  New College was ranked fifth in the “Top Public Liberal Arts Colleges.”  In addition, the University of North Florida was ranked within the “Top Masters’ Universities.”


Governor Crist Proposes $32.6 Million for Commercial Space Launch, Urges Incentives to Build Florida’s Innovation Economy

To grow key Florida industries and high-tech, high-wage jobs

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today addressed the board of directors of Enterprise Florida Inc. during the group’s annual meeting in Tallahassee to announce his $307.5-million economic-incentive budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2010-11. The Governor, who chairs the board, highlighted his commitment to growing the state’s innovation economy, ensuring a competitive business climate, building a world-class workforce, and establishing Florida as a pre-eminent global trade hub.

“The successes we are seeing in Florida’s biotechnology business hub show us that we must continue our efforts to attract and retain companies in Florida’s innovation sectors,” Governor Crist said. “Florida’s business friendliness, talented workforce, beautiful environment and pleasant climate make the Sunshine State an excellent location for companies seeking to grow economic opportunities.”

Governor Crist’s recommended budget will increase Florida’s competitiveness in key business sectors, including information technology, aviation and aerospace, defense, biotechnology, tourism, sports, and film and entertainment through the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (OTTED). Governor Crist directed Chris Hart, who was recently appointed to a dual role as OTTED director and CEO of Workforce Florida, to increase efforts to grow key Florida businesses and high-tech, high-wage jobs.

Highlights of the Governor’s planned incentives needed to build Florida’s innovation economy include the following:

Space Florida, $32.6 million – In response to the federal policy decision to end the space shuttle program and to initiate new human space exploration missions beyond earth’s orbit, Governor Crist proposed $20 million to Space Florida to fund business recruitment activities, including the following:

Financing for Space Industry Jobs Retention and Business Expansion – $10 million for an internal source of financing and investment funds to provide additional opportunities for expanding space businesses and to establish sustained industry growth.
Expanded Space Business Services – $3 million to provide assistance to emerging space businesses pursuing opportunities in Florida
Workforce Development Assistance – $3.2 million to provide support to workforce development programs and technical training initiatives

In addition, Governor Crist recommended $12.6 million to assist in the development and management of state-of-the-art facilities for space businesses that will create high-technology, high-wage jobs. This funding will enable Space Florida to invest in a technology and commerce park that utilizes Florida’s space assets, refurbish Launch Complex 46 to promote commercial use, and renovate facilities to attract businesses and foster the growth of a sustainable and world-class aerospace industry in Florida.

Innovation Incentive Program, $100 million – To date, this program has played a critical role in attracting leading research institutes and companies that have expanded innovation-based economic activity, both in their own right and through spin-off generation. Currently, seven research institutes participate in this program and, in the early stages of their development, have already created over 400 new high-tech, high-wage jobs.

Quick Action Closing Fund, $25 million – This program enables the state to respond quickly to extraordinary economic opportunities and compete effectively for projects that involve significant capital investment and the creation of high-wage jobs. In Fiscal Year 2008-09, these projects led to the creation or retention of 25,610 jobs at an average annual wage of $51,503.

Institute for Commercialization of Public Research, $15 million – Established in 2007, the institute serves as a one-stop-shop for investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners looking to develop new ventures based on research performed in Florida. The institute showcases technologies and products developed by publicly supported organizations across the state, and commercially viable discoveries are paired with seasoned entrepreneurs and investors to ensure their growth and success, resulting in high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Film and Entertainment, $15 million – Governor Crist recommended an increased investment to demonstrate Florida’s strong commitment to retaining and growing its highly valued film and entertainment industry. A recent independent study on Florida’s entertainment industry reported that in 2007 the industry generated $17.9 billion in Gross State Product and provided a total statewide fiscal impact of $29 billion, directly employing approximately 102,000 Floridians with an average wage of $57,700.

In Fiscal Year 2008-09, 29 productions spent more than $55.3 million on Florida wages, products and services that met the strict parameters of the program. The 6,434 jobs resulting from these productions put $37.3 million in wages into the pockets of Floridians. An additional $18 million was spent with Florida businesses. Approximately $8.6 million was rebated to these productions, based on their qualified Florida expenditures. On average, for every dollar rebated a certified production on qualified Florida expenditures, over six dollars were spent on Florida wages, products or services.

Other Economic Development Recommendations

Earlier this week, Governor Charlie Crist proposed additional strategies for growing jobs, businesses and economic opportunities through $100 million in tax relief to families and businesses. Governor Crist recommended a $9.7-billion investment in economic development, which includes infrastructure, workforce development and incentives for small businesses. Governor Crist also highlighted his recommendations for continued investments to assist individuals, businesses and communities as Florida’s economy recovers.

Later today, Governor Crist will attend the 57th Annual PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center alongside PGA CEO Joe Steranka. The Governor expressed his support for the sport and industry which has an economic impact of more than $6 billion in Florida. The golf industry also brings in 167,000 jobs and $4.7 billion in wages to Floridians. The show is the world’s largest business-to-business golf event, featuring more than 1,000 top industry vendors from all 50 states and more than 70 countries.

For more information about the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, please visit http://flgov.com/otted_home.



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