With Boca Raton based Office Depot announcing last week they would merge with Office Max which is based in Illinois. Office Depot is the 8th largest company based in the state of Florida and has received millions of dollars in tax “incentives” from the state and just over a million dollars from financially struggling Palm Beach County government.
Office Depot employes over 2,000 people at its Boca headquarters and if they were to leave the state, the opportunity costs financially would be in the multi-million dollar range. We’ve discussed previously the continued inability of Florida’s Republican leadership to attract new companies to the state even while dishing out millions in tax breaks to business.
The question now has to be asked of the Governor and Legislature. What is the plan if Office Depot ditches the state and relocates to Illinois post Office Max merger? Is a plan in place to re-coop the lost millions and who are the targets to attract to Florida in order to replace the loss in jobs?
We can certainly hope the Governor and his allies have prepared for this contingency, but based on the Mr Scott’s record of job creation it is unlikely he has. Even if the state recovers the tax rebates by settling with Office Depot, what type of white collar jobs do the Republican leaders plan to target to replace Office Depot’s? All these questions must be pondered in the coming weeks and months as the plans of the merged office supply giant become clearer.