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November 29, 2015

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.

?? (economic developers who compete against Florida)

Eileen Pickett

"The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Florida are retirement and vacation. When I think of Orlando, I think Disney. When I think of Miami, I think of its size and large Hispanic culture, and Tampa Bay means beaches. Not having worked economic development in Florida, I really can't speak authoritatively on the topic, but here are some guesses about what would be Florida's strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: No personal income tax, very sellable quality of life and a strong state incentive program. The weaknesses are high costs of living and a challenging housing market as well as a perception of ‘old' workforce."

Eileen Pickett, senior vice president of community and economic development at Greater Louisville Inc. in Kentucky

Michael Olivier

"Florida has established itself. But sometimes the tourism element has gotten in the way. What you don't hear about as much is Florida's education and fantastic medical community. Beyond the sun and all, what you don't hear much about is the business climate. We know it's a good tourism market and a good place to visit, but you don't hear about the livability other than what was generated years ago about retirement communities. That worked for a long time. Now it's working against you. The wish to attract manufacturing sometimes has been thwarted by what people may consider an erosion of their livability if they attract manufacturing."

Michael Olivier, CEO of the Committee of 100 for Economic Development, which focuses on promoting economic development in Louisiana

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