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Gov. Rick Scott hosts jobs roundtable in Seminole

Posted on 3/24/2017 by Nakota Wagner in Nationwide Title Clearing Tampa Bay Times

If defense contractor Northrop Grumman expands as planned, Gov. Rick Scott said, Florida could see a portion of its 3,200 new jobs.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott talks with local business leaders in Pinellas County at Allen Sports Center, Seminole on Wednesday to rally support for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. Sitting next to Scott is Ken Lawson, Director of Visit Florida. Scott called out local state representatives who voted to kill Enterprise Florida and limit Visit Florida. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

In his relentless effort to save Enterprise Florida, Scott continued his state-wide stumping tour for the agency and Visit Florida with a roundtable in Seminole today. It was there that he announced the possible job gain.

"I don't know if we'll get all of them," he said, "but there's a potential for (3,200) more jobs only because they're here."

He did not elaborate on where that figure came from. Northrop was one of several companies that made commitments to bring jobs to the state in exchange for incentive packages Scott offered through Enterprise Florida. In 2013, Northrop committed to adding 1,000 new jobs for one of its projects.

Those jobs, however, haven't fully materialized. Only 503 jobs had been confirmed for the 2014 reporting period, the most recent data available. The state Department of Economic Opportunity, which maintains the data, considers this to be on track, however.

Scott considers several sectors as threatened in the Tampa Bay area, including manufacturing, corporate headquarters and regional headquarters.

"It's companies that could be anywhere," he said following the event. "They don't have to be ¬— they don't have to be in Florida."

Beyond jobs, the hour-long roundtable also focused on tourism in the Seminole area.

"There is no way that a city or county can come up with the same dollars (for tourism marketing). You just can't do it," he said.

Both Scott and Ken Lawson, the new CEO of Visit Florida, talked in dire tones about the repercussions of underfunded tourism industries, particularly with respect to how much other states are advertising.

"They're coming after our people," Lawson said.

Around 65 people attended. The event is Scott's latest stop on a tour promoting the two agencies as job generators and admonishing House Republicans for voting to kill Enterprise Florida.

Enterprise Florida currently gives businesses tax breaks as an incentive for creating more jobs in the state. Earlier this month, the Florida House voted to shut down the agency down with an 87-28 vote. The Senate has not acted on that measure.

Contact Malena Carollo at Follow @malenacarollo.