Study finds that RNC directly added $212 million into the Tampa economy listen08/21/13 Naveen Sultan
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:
The organizers of last yearâ€™s Republican National Convention announced yesterday that the RNC directly pumped 212 million dollars into the Tampa Bay economy. The figure comes from an impact study by the University of Tampa business school and the results were unveiled at Jacksonâ€™s Bistro in Harbour Island.
The 212 million dollars includes money spent by Republican convention organizers, the City of Tampa and corporations. Ken Jones, CEO and president of the Tampa Bay host committee, said when economists used an economic formula to estimate indirect spending, they determined the total economic impact to be 404 million dollars.
â€œWe tried to come up with a very intellectuality honest number - this was not just throw a big number out and see if we can back peddle it. We came up with a very good analysis we used a professional economist from UT. So I think the number is an accurate number itâ€™s supported by facts, itâ€™s supported by our IMPLAN model and it was great for Tampa Bay.â€
Mayor Bob Buckhorn addressed criticisms of small business owners who said they lost money during the RNC.
â€œObviously there were some businesses in downtown Tampa that encouraged their employees to telecommute. That eliminated some of the walk up daily lunch traffic for some of the restaurants in immediate proximity to the security perimeter. We tried to tamp down expectations going into this because we knew that was the experience in other conventions. We knew that some folks would make the decision not to come downtown. We encouraged them to come downtown but obviously businesses are going to do whatâ€™s in their best interest. There was nothing we could have done to change that.â€
The Mayor praised the heightened security measures and said past conventions made it clear that security had to be high priority for Tampa.
â€œIf you look at the experience in Minneapolis, St. Paul four years ago â€“ 800 hundreds arrests, millions of dollars of property damage and you look at what we accomplished in this city with two arrests, zero property damage given the opportunity to do it again. I wouldnâ€™t do it any different than what we did.
Buckhorn also addressed the complaint that the city seemed liked a military state during the convention. Despite what others have said, Buckhorn said security at the RNC was no different than security at the Democratic convention.
"We werenâ€™t an armed camp we were a safe city. Both Ken and I were in Charlotte. They had the same deployment levels. Their city was laid out a little bit differently but virtually the same number of police officers and law enforcement personnel that were deployed here were deployed in Charlotte as well. I can live with the criticism that we over deployed because I couldnâ€™t sleep at night had we not done what we did and the alternative had occurred.â€
Officials from the Host Committee, Tampa Hillsborough EDC, and Visit Tampa Bay said the convention has paved the way for other national and global events to take place in Tampa like the Bollywood awards set for next June.