Governor Rick Scott is flying across the state of Florida with the mission of creating jobs. Daily I receive press releases from the Governor’s office touting one business or another expanding and adding jobs. The implication is that government and the Governor had a hand in creating those jobs. The only problem is government cannot create a single job without taking money from the private sector.
Any effort by government to create a job via subsidies is a form of wealth redistribution. Government takes money from those who are profitable and gives to those who are not.
The only thing that creates a job is a profit.
Taking profit from one company (taxes) and redistributing it to another company (incentives) with a promise of job creation is not the solution, it is the problem. Companies will only create jobs if they are profitable. When a company sells more products or services than it can produce, then and only then will it hire more people to meet market demand.
The practices of Enterprise Florida have come into question recently. Enterprise Florida is the organization most responsible for the state’s redistribution (incentive) program.
Government incentives have a poor record of job creation and return on investment.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) online incentive portal shows about 1,000 companies have taken advantage of state incentives, which are largely funded with taxpayer dollars. The portal presents an accounting of all the companies since 1996 that have agreements with the DEO executed.
The following map shows the unequal distribution of DEO incentives (subsidies) to Florida’s 67 counties. Hundreds of millions of subsidies.
MAP: ECONOMIC INCENTIVE PAYMENTS BY COUNTY
The map breaks down how much the businesses in each county have received in corporate income tax refunds, direct cash payments and other economic incentives. Some agreements have pending payments, and funds given to a company but later repaid are not counted. The data is compiled from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. It does not include all economic incentives, such as sales tax refunds and incentives through other state agencies, such as Workforce Florida and the Office of Film & Entertainment.
Legend: From lightest to darkest shade
- $0 to $1 million
- $1 million to $2 million
- $2 million to $4 million
- $4 million to $10 million
- $10 million to $40 million
- $40 million to $150 million
Government is best at creating jobs when government governs least. As Governor Scott pointed out in his inaugural speech that the axis of unemployment are: taxation, regulation and litigation. The more Governor Scott does to address these issues the more Florida will become a haven for business.
As businesses in Florida make more profit, more jobs will be created. That is the bottom line.