Watchdog.org executive editor John Bicknell wrote the following op-ed, published in the Orlando Sentinel, explaining why Florida’s economic incentive agency, Enterprise Florida, isn’t a good investment of tax dollars:
The battle over the future of Enterprise Florida is, in microcosm, the battle over the role of government – what should it be doing, and who should it be doing it for?
Republican Gov. Rick Scott wants $85 million this year to fund Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary provider of incentives intended to lure new business to the state and keep existing ones.
But Enterprise Florida and other state economic development programs are not producing enough jobs or return on investment to justify the expense.
A review of Enterprise Florida Inc. and the Department of Economic Opportunity — the state’s major incentive providers – by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability looked at a decade of data on those two criteria, the most-often cited justifications for giving taxpayer money to private businesses, judging Florida against seven other states.
Florida didn’t fare so well, trailing in overall job growth as well as high-wage job creation.
The agencies are also failing as producers of revenue for the state government.
According to Amy Baker, Florida’s chief economist and legislative coordinator for the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, of the state’s 26 incentive programs, 18 failed to produce enough tax revenue to break even.