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Gov. Scott’s plan for Black businesses

Roger Caldwell | 12/19/2013, 9 a.m.
Since Governor Scott has taken office in 2010, the state unemployment numbers have dropped from 11.1 to 6.7 percent and ...

Since Governor Scott has taken office in 2010, the state unemployment numbers have dropped from 11.1 to 6.7 percent and there have been 440,000 private sector jobs created. Based on our governor’s numbers the good times are here again in Florida. It would appear that the recession is over, jobs are plentiful and the middle class is booming. But everywhere I look prices keep going up, sales are down and my friends keep getting laid off or having their hours cut. Everyone is worried and everyone is cutting back. Instead of going out to the restaurant two days a week, families are going out once every two weeks while restaurant workers idly stand around.

When Scott took office, he called himself the jobs governor and he promised the state that he would create 700,000 jobs in seven. Now it seems that he is having problems. Every week our governor goes to a photo-op where he cuts a ribbon to highlight the promise of new jobs.

Steve Bousquet of the Times/Herald says, “Governor Scott makes big jobs promises but so far gains are small. Of the jobs Scott can influence most only a fraction now exists. Scott has pledged $266 million in tax breaks and other incentives in return for 45,256 new jobs. But 96 percent of the jobs have yet to materialize, according to state data.”

Two years after Scott agreed to spend $250,000 renovating a Kissimmee warehouse, the building remains empty. Eighteen months after Florida offered $700,000 in incentives for Global Voter Solutions to hire 127 people for a civic website, the project remains stalled. Klausner Holdings, Inc. planned to shift 410 jobs from Spokane, Wash, to Panama City, and received $400,000. The jobs never arrived and the money is gone.

There are hundreds of other projects the majority of which were unsuccessful. After the photo-op there is no transparency and no one gets a report stating whether the project has been completed or not.

As a Black entrepreneur in Florida, I wonder if the state makes an effort to help offer more Black businesses an opportunity to succeed. In order to be successful in business it takes tax breaks and incentives. Businesses in the Black community are not productivity because they don’t understand that they must develop a comprehensive business plan that includes tax breaks and incentives. The challenge in Florida is for more Black businesses to develop good business ideas that provide jobs in the community. Once the ideas and plan are formulated, it is necessary to get more assistance from the state. Our governor never talks about the jobs that have been created in the Black community. Where his plan or to assist us or does he have one?

Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Orlando.