Hillsborough proposes creating economic stimulus task force

01/07/09 Mitch E. Perry
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As all indications are that the local economy will get worse before it gets better, the Hillsborough County Commission today voted to create an economic stimulus task force to try to bring new jobs to the county. The idea was proposed by Board Chairman Ken Hagen.

Hagen said ideally the task force would be made up of no more than 10 to 20 people that would come back before the board in two to three months.

Earlier this week, Gov. Charlie Crist announced his Economic Stimulus Plan that would require $10 million and target small Florida-based companies. Commissioner Jim Norman said he’d like to create the atmosphere to bring many of those companies to the county.

Echoing concerns by some Republicans about the soon to be announced federal economic stimulus plan by President-elect Barack Obama, Commissioner Mark Sharpe said it was crucial for the board not to rush into an ill advised plan.

Commissioners Kevin Beckner, Rose Ferlita and Al Higgenbotham all expressed enthusiasm for partnering with other cities like Tampa in putting together such a plan.

But those comments seemed to rankle Jim Norman, who brought up what he called the “USF thing,” which could have been an allusion to the Civitas plan back in 2004, a plan by private developers to rebuild two public housing complexes between downtown Tampa and Ybor City that the County ultimately quashed.

And Norman said it was important for the County to act quickly.

Upon first reading, the board unanimously approved the motion.

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