By Kartik Krishnaiyer
Governor Rick Scott is crowing about the move of Boeing’s move of its training facilities from Seattle to Miami.
“Boeing’s announcement that they are investing more of their business in Florida is great news for Florida families. Over the last two years, we have cut taxes and regulations to support job creation. Now we know, it’s working. More and more companies from around the world are moving to Florida.”
Talk about taking credit for being the sky blue. Boeing’s move has to do with the proximity of southeast Florida to the closer proximity to the airlines buying the 787 in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America than Seattle. The launch customers for the 787, All Nippon Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air India, United/Continental and Qatar Airways were better served by a Seattle training center. Scott and the state’s prodding may have helped slightly, but it would been far better for the state to be aggressive enough to move Boeing’s manufacturing jobs that moved from Seattle to South Carolina along with this training center.
This having been said, Scott has an opportunity to continue the momentum the Boeing move provides Florida. I have often criticized Republican legislators and Governors for the inability to shift large corporate jobs to Florida. Much of this failure has had to do with the woeful state of Florida’s education system, something badly neglected and experimented with during the uninterpreted 16 years of Republican rule in Tallahassee.
Scott has succeeded where his immediate predecessor failed. With an opportunity to move jetBlue’s headquarters from high-tax New York to Florida in 2007, Governor Charlie Crist and the GOP legislature failed miserably. The airline maintains large operations at Fort Lauderdale and Orlando as well as servicing several other Florida cities, and needed a new HQ. The ridiculously generous set of tax incentives Crist offered the company merely resulted in them relocating from one part of New York to another, providing another failure in the former Governor and his GOP allies attempts to create jobs in the state.
To say Scott’s tax incentives have worked is simply not fair given the scant evidence we have of other large scale corporate relocations to the state. But the Boeing move perhaps creates some important momentum going forward. Scott can’t take that much credit for this move, but can use Boeing as an example to other companies. The next order of business for Scott and Legislature has to be enuring that Office Depot does not take it’s 5,000 plus jobs at its Boca Raton HQ and move them to Ohio. That will be a true test of the Governor’s leadership.