More great employment news this morning as Florida, as the Governor announced that Florida has created 294,200 private-sector jobs and that Florida’s February unemployment rate dropped another 0.2 percentage points to 7.7 percent—the lowest since October 2008. Please take a moment to watch our video release below. Have a great Easter weekend!
News from the Capitol Education
On Monday, Governor Rick Scott celebrated Collier County’s public schools that have sustained high student performance or demonstrated substantial improvement in student performance by presenting a check totaling nearly $2.5 million in School Recognition Program funding to representatives from the Collier County school district. The check presentation took place before an audience of educators and community leaders at East Naples Middle School in Naples. Schools may use their award dollars for faculty or staff bonuses, to purchase educational equipment or materials, or hire temporary staff to help maintain or improve student performance. Statewide, school recognition funding totals more than $134 million.
Joe Lannon, executive director of the Communications and Community Engagement department for the Collier County School District, offered a great wrap up in the Naples Daily News:
“It was great to see the highest ranking government official in Florida take such an active role in personally coming to be with us to share in the joy of high academic achievement for our students and staff.”
That’s the feeling expressed to me by Pine Ridge Middle School Principal George Brenco following Monday’s visit to Collier County by Gov. Rick Scott.
As you know from the story written by Naples Daily News reporter Brittany Shammas, which appeared in Tuesday’s paper, the governor came to town to deliver School Recognition Program money to our “A” schools, so graded by the Florida Department of Education, and to those that improved by at least one letter grade.
School recognition awards were first given to schools in Florida in 1998, but this is the first year there’s been a big deal made about them. The governor’s appearance at East Naples Middle School on Tuesday was a really big deal and Pinecrest Elementary School Principal Karey Stewart said she “felt an intense pride for our dedicated Pinecrest staff as Governor Scott shared his focus on achievement and performance. Being able to share our amazing work with the leader of our state was fabulous.”
“Florida’s consumer confidence rose in March, gaining three points from the revised February reading of 73, according to a monthly University of Florida survey. That puts the Sunshine State at odds with the economic mood of the rest of the nation.
“This rise was unexpected,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. According to a recent University of Michigan study, the confidence level for the entire U.S. fell sharply by almost six points in the wake of federal budget cuts resulting from the sequestration process that started in early March.
Mike Williams offered a great op-ed to the Tallahassee Democrat this week on manufacturing. From the Democrat:
With this industry’s resurgence is an opportunity to breathe new life into Florida’s economy and job market. Every dollar we invest in manufacturing creates $1.43 of activity in related sectors. Manufacturing also typically generates 2.5 indirect jobs in related industries for every one direct job. And, most manufacturing jobs are high-wage jobs that pay above the state average. That’s a significant return on investment and one that creates opportunities for growth in many sectors across the state.
However, Florida manufacturers are at a disadvantage compared with competitors in other states, and that disadvantage has limited the industry’s ability to create jobs and generate revenue. Onerous state taxes and regulations are working against the industry’s economic development potential.
Florida is one of only nine states that imposes sales tax on the purchase of manufacturing machinery and equipment. While 90 percent of all Florida exports come from manufacturing, we rank 44th in the nation in terms of the percentage of the workforce employed in manufacturing.
Fortunately, Gov. Rick Scott and members of the Florida Legislature have proposed remedies that will unburden Florida manufacturers. The Governor’s proposal to eliminate sales taxes on the purchase of manufacturing machinery and equipment would free up $141 million for manufacturers to use to hire more employees, expand their facilities and make other capital investments. It also will put Florida on a level playing field with other states and competitors all over the world. Not only will it help to keep existing manufacturing businesses here in the Sunshine State, but it also will attract new businesses that may not have previously considered Florida as a location because of the higher taxes.
This proposal is supported in the Senate through Sen. Dorothy Hukill’s SB 518 and in the House by Rep. MaryLynn Magar (HB 391).
Opportunities in the week ahead
Eliminating the Sales Tax on Manufacturing Equipment
The Governor’s manufacturing proposal contained in SB 518 by Senator Hukill will be heard in Commerce and Tourism on April 1. Please make a point to get to committee if you are able to voice your support to build manufacturing jobs in Florida. Based on our conversations with House staff, we anticipate the House companion to move next week as well. Please continue to keep up your requests in to the House to move the bills through committee.
Rewarding Excellence with a $2,500 Pay Raise for Florida Teachers
We received very positive news from both the House and Senate this week, as both chambers have included funding for pay raises for all teachers in the state. We will continue to work with them to shape the proviso language to distribute the dollars in the coming weeks.
Special thanks to...
Thanks to Mike Williams for his op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat to promote manufacturing in Florida