Gov. Scott re-announces Canada company's 100-job move to Boca listen06/08/11 Kate Bradshaw
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Governor Rick Scott owes his seat to the campaign promise that he was going to be a “jobs” governor – something critics say his austere budget flatly contradicts. Scott held a telephone press conference today from Montreal, where he touted what he believes is a step forward in Florida’s fight for jobs.
The skin tight state budget didn’t leave much wiggle room for public employees. They took pay cuts, and thousands lost their jobs. Scott claims this will bring private sector jobs in the near future. Today he and executives from Montreal-based Garda reiterated the company will be moving its headquarters to Boca Raton. Garda is a company that uses armored vehicles to transport valuables.* They say the move will create 100 jobs over the next two and a half years. These jobs are expected to have an average annual salary of about $65,000. Scott said it was Florida’s business-friendly climate that lured the company.
"I'm pleased to announce today that Garda is moving it's US headquarters to Boca Raton, Florida effective this month. Florida was chosen over two other states thanks to our low taxes and our great business climate and it's just a wonderful place to live."
Garda chose to move its regional headquarters from California to Florida. Local and state officials offered the company some $1 million in incentives. Other candidates were Illinois and Delaware. Scott appeared to take credit for the move.
"Garda's decision to move to Florida speaks volumes about the strides we have taken to create the best business environment in the US and prove we are capturing the attention of the business community worldwide."
The problem? Garda began talks with Palm Beach County officials long before Scott took office. In fact, he had barely won his expensive primary against former attorney general Bill McCollum when discussions began. The Palm Beach Post first reported on it one week after Scott’s inauguration, and again on February 24 when the move was made official. The state is giving the company more than half a million dollars in incentives. Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton are both kicking in $210,000. Asked how severe cuts to programs like Florida’s education system could possibly attract a quality workforce, Scott got on the defensive.
"We continue to fund education the same way we funded education in the past in our state. Our federal government has given money to education and cut it back so any reduction to education was money that our federal government cut back through their stimulus package. They gave the money and then took it back. We've had a great year for education in our state. We passed a variety of new bills this year that are going to make it much better for our students. Step 1, our principals are now going to be able to get rid of bad teachers."
Neither the governor nor Garda spokespeople said whether those jobs would be reserved for Floridians.
*A note for our listeners: In the audio version of this story, which originally aired on 06/08, our reporter stated that Garda was an armored car manufacturer. We updated the text to give a more accurate reflection of what the company does.