Ask the Governor: The demise of the construction and space industries
“The state has a variety of economic stimulus measures in place to encourage economic recovery. I recommended several stimulus measures designed to help businesses and families in my 2010–11 budget recommendations. The focus of my administration’s agenda is job creation and tax relief through a variety of measures."
Ask the Governor The demise of the construction and space industries Originally published in the Apr/May 2010 issue of 850 Business Magazine
Q: Banks are less inclined to lend for construction projects. This lack of funds is preventing growth in new businesses and development. What is the state doing to speed economic recovery, specifically as it relates to reviving the construction industry and opening avenues for potential development projects to receive needed financing? Griffin Mitchell, General Contractor, Panama City
A: “ The state has a variety of economic stimulus measures in place to encourage economic recovery. I recommended several stimulus measures designed to help businesses and families in my 2010–11 budget recommendations. The focus of my administration’s agenda is job creation and tax relief through a variety of measures, including:
- Corporate Income Tax Rate Reduction: $57.4 million A 1 percent reduction in the corporate income tax rate, from 5.5 to 4.5 percent, on the first $1 million of a corporation’s taxable income.
- Innovation Incentive and Quick Action Closing Funds: $125 million Allows Florida to compete effectively for high value research and development projects, major innovation business projects and other projects that involve significant capital investment and the creation of high-wage jobs.
- Small Business Development Center Network, Institute for Commercialization of Public Research and Economic Gardening: $21.8 million Will provide technical and commercialization assistance to small and medium sized businesses.
- Space Initiatives: $32.6 million Will promote the growth of the aerospace industry and space businesses that will create high-technology, high-wage jobs.
- Defense, Rural and Transportation Infrastructure Grants: $40.5 million Will address the infrastructure needs of the communities surrounding Florida’s military installations and encourage development in rural communities.
- Economic Development Tools: $21.4 million Provides tax rebates to preserve and grow Florida’s high technology employment base.
- Many of these programs are in existence now and my recommendations are intended to bolster these efforts as well as create strategic economic stimulus in key areas of concern.
Specific to encouraging construction, I signed into law HB 485 during the 2009 session which created the New Markets Development Program in Florida. This program supplements the federal New Markets Tax program and provides state tax credits for investments in low-income communities. These investments will generally finance the rehabilitation of historic buildings and the construction or operation of cultural arts centers, religious institutions, supermarkets, health care facilities, day care centers and charter schools. This legislation will assist in the revival of the construction industry and revitalize Florida’s low income communities.
Lastly, I remain committed to maximizing available state resources for affordable housing opportunities for businesses and homeowners. My Fiscal Year 2010–11 Budget Recommendations provide $93 million for affordable housing projects, which includes opportunities for grants, financing and tax incentives.”
Q: With the sunset of the Space Shuttle Program and now the cancellation of the Constellation program, what can be done to save the nearly 7,000 high tech jobs that will be lost from these cuts? What is the state doing to promote private enterprise that will be needed to absorb these lost jobs and keep America in space? Chris Keller, Tallahassee
A: “ Despite the change in policy at the federal level, Florida will continue to remain at the forefront of aviation and space flight development. In partnership with Florida’s Legislature, we are making the investments now that will pave the way toward a strong transition of our Space Shuttle Program workforce into new and innovative opportunities within Florida.
For the upcoming fiscal year, I have recommended $33 million for Space Florida, the State’s official business development organization for the space industry, and to support the appropriate corresponding infrastructure. This investment will continue to attract new commercial opportunities, trigger the recruitment of leading aerospace companies and lead to future technological advancements which will bring new products to market for consumers. Additionally, members of the Legislature have drafted the Space Transition and Revitalization Act, which creates the Space Business Investment and Financial Services Initiative within Space Florida. It also provides for investment funding during the period of transition from the space shuttle program for infrastructure projects, and the creation of new and expanded space-related businesses, including assistance in promoting small business growth.
These commitments will ensure our diverse aviation and aerospace industry, with some 2,000 companies employing 87,000 workers at average wages of more than $57,000, will remain a vital component of Florida’s 21st Century economy.”