Enterprise Florida’s President paid $230,000 and $70,000 bonus
By Roger Caldwell
Enterprise Florida Inc. is a public-private partnership that serves as Florida’s primary organization to provide statewide economic development. Its mission is to facilitate job growth for Florida’s businesses and citizens leading to a vibrant statewide economy.
The Chairman of the Board is Governor Scott and there is no transparency and accountability with the citizens of the state. In 2012, Enterprise Florida received $111 million from the taxpayers and they are not required to explain what they did with the money. The organization also receives money from businesses around the state, and this is an additional slush fund for our governor.
Two watchdog groups, Integrity Florida and Americans for Prosperity are charging the organization with poor performance, and the appearance of cronyism. Enterprise Florida is subsidizing companies who have brought jobs to the state, to the staggering cost of over one billion. It appears that many of the wealthy companies in the state are being provided with corporate welfare.
Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, wrote that “privatizing a state development agency is an inherently corrupting move that states should avoid or repeal.” The report highlighted how eight states with such agencies all shared problems over inflated job-creation figures, high pay for top executives, pay to play incentives, and public oversight problems.
Enterprise Florida President Gary Swoope and Governor Scott will claim that Enterprise Florida is responsible for bringing 35,000 new jobs to the state last year, and they are doing a great job. They al-so claim that the organization brought in almost $2 billion in capital investments by private companies.
As a result of the great job they are doing, Governor Scott is asking the legislature to give Gary Swoope a raise to $275,000 and a bonus of $100,000. No one knows what would happen if Enterprise Florida did not give out over $1 billion to companies in incentives, because they believe in favoritism and cronyism. The majority of the funds that Enterprise Florida receives come from Florida taxpayers; therefore the citizens should have a voice how our money is spent.
There is something fundamentally wrong when our governor takes trips all over the world, and they are financed by Enterprise Florida who gets its money from the taxpayers. We also have to be concerned if our governor is using these trips to expand his businesses, or the businesses of the state.
It is time for an outside audit done by an outside agency to establish how our taxpayer money is being spent by Enterprise Florida. Instead of Gary Swoope attacking the watchdog groups reports, let’s address the issues brought up in the report. The Florida legislature and Florida taxpayers must scrutinize Enterprise Florida with an outside agency, and establish if the organization is good for the state.