Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Florida Governor Wants to Slash Space Florida Funding

Newly elected Florida governor Rick Scott pledged during his campaign to be "Florida's chief economic development officer." Now he wants to radically slash the budget for Florida's space economic development agency. Photo source:

Florida Today reports that newly elected Republican governor Rick Scott wants to reduce guaranteed funding for Space Florida from $31 million to $10 million.

Funding for Space Florida to improve infrastructure and offer incentives to help lure business to the area would drop significantly under Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

But the agency would compete for a pool of incentive and development funds the governor plans to consolidate, possibly allowing it to recoup some or all of the agency's proposed $21 million cut, a state lawmaker said.

On his campaign web site, Scott pledged to be "Florida's chief economic development officer."

Local economic development offices are central to job creation and retention in our state. I will ensure these offices have the right resources and trained specialists so they can assist their local businesses obtain state and federal grants, and to comply with state and local regulatory processes in the least costly manner.

Space Florida is an independent statewide special district. According to its web site, this is their mission:

As the State of Florida’s aerospace economic development agency, Space Florida fosters bold economic development activities to expand and diversify domestic and international opportunities that support talent development, enhance infrastructure and support governments and organizations in improving the state’s competitive business climate.

Governor Scott, ironically, is chairman of the Space Florida Board of Directors.

You can draw your own conclusions about whether Scott's budget proposal breaks his promise to be "Florida's chief economic development officer."

But it should be remembered that a governor's budget proposal, just like the President's budget proposal, is essentially meaningless. The state Legislature determines the final budget, which the Governor can sign or veto. The same goes for the President and Congress.

UPDATE February 10, 2011Florida Today comments on Scott's proposal to slash the Space Florida budget:

That’s the worst signal to send with the end of the shuttle program at hand and thousands of workers losing their jobs.

Private space firms drawing up their business plans need certainty and strong assurance that Florida is ready to provide the economic incentives they require to locate here and grow.

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