Florida’s “jobs” Gov. Rick Scott (R) started with a promise to create 700,000 jobs on top of projected job growth, but has opted for a new slogan: “I don’t have to create any jobs.” Instead, Scott is betting all his chips on corporations, pushing tax breaks for companies with the hope that they will create jobs in return. But, as the Orlando Sun-Sentinel reports, this is a losing bet.
According to Scott’s new Department of Economic Opportunity, taxpayers have paid out $754.2 million in more than 1,500 deals with companies since 1995. The deals were projected to create 224,286 new jobs over that past 16 years, but only one-third were actually created. Overall, the Sunshine State has pledged $1.7 billion of taxpayer money in 1,521 deals with companies. As the breakdown below shows, the majority of those deals “have yet to report any jobs“:
— A total of 33 were net losers. Awarded $24.3 million to create 5,696 jobs, the companies actually lost 1,550 jobs — but were still paid $10.8 million.
— A total of 293 produced some jobs. Awarded $288.7 million to create 60,397 jobs, these companies have so far created 32,747 jobs and been paid $135.7 million. Most of these contracts are still active and may produce more jobs going forward.
— An additional 224 deals produced more jobs than promised. Awarded $204.7 million to create 46,248 jobs, the companies produced 80,229 — and have been paid $167.9 million so far.
— The lion’s share of the awards — 971 — have yet to report any jobs. Some of these contracts have just been inked and haven’t had to report yet. But 192 date to the 1990s. Collectively, these companies were awarded $1.1 billion to create 168,497 jobs. And they’ve been paid $415.3 million.
In addition to these deals, Florida taxpayers “paid out at least $37.9 million to six unnamed companies for 3,600 jobs that never materialized.” Scott’s agency is refusing to disclose the companies, but said it is renegotiating their contracts “so that the incentive payments are in accordance with the company’s performance.”
Given greater leeway by the GOP-led legislature, Scott himself has awarded $98.6 million and paid $15.3 million to companies pledging to create more than 21,246 jobs. At the same time, he killed a high-speed rail project that promised 71,000 jobs, bragged about laying off 15,000 government employees, and rejected funds to create more than 60,000 jobs.
Scott’s aide even admitted that corporate breaks might not produce a single job. Given Florida’s last decade of history, the outlook definitely doesn’t look good.