August 19, 2014

FLORIDA Perception vs. Reality

Sounding Board: What does Florida mean to you?

Site selectors, economic recruiters, competitors, new business arrivals and those who chose to move elsewhere offer insights on the state.

? ?(people who sell Florida to the outside world)

Gray Swoope

"Florida's kind of been the sleeping giant in that it's a dynamic economy. It consistently ranks high in Tax Foundation's tax climate. In fact, if you look right now, we're currently fifth in the United States and if you look at the four above us, they're Western states that we don't compete with. The point being, that from a business climate standpoint, we're competitive. But where the competition sees Florida in the past has been that ‘it's just hard to do business here.' That has been how states would position Florida as the competitive disadvantage. In a year's time, with Gov. Scott and removing regulations, making it easier to do business here, word is getting out."

Gray Swoope, Florida Secretary of Commerce,
president and CEO of Enterprise Florida

Manuel Mencia

"If you compare our image today to what it was two, three decades ago, it's suddenly perceived as a much more vibrant, much more diversified state than ever before. The new Florida is a state where our traditional industries, tourism and agriculture and retirement and real estate blend with a dynamic high-technology sector, which is now the third-largest sector in the U.S. We're one of the leading trade centers in the United States. We're the fourth exporter in the U.S. of high technology. We also boast one of the most dynamic and sophisticated aerospace business clusters in the country."

Manuel (Manny) A. Mencia, senior vice president and COO of Enterprise Florida's international trade and business development division

Mark Wilson

"I think Florida is the symbol of the new America, and I think if you compare, I see very, very much that Florida is the new frontier. The demographics of Florida today in 2012 are within a few percentage points of what the United States is projected to be in 2030. So you want to see what the United States is going to look like in 20 years, you just have to look at Florida currently. If you look at what we're doing with private-sector job creation, with streamlining state government, I think the business community within Florida has reason to be optimistic, and I'm seeing a lot of hope that I didn't see four or five years ago."

Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce

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Balloon sculpture at Museum of Fine Arts will blow you away
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