Archive for the Economic Development Category

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Opinion with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Sometimes money is a powerful incentive.

A running joke from my college days was that you didn’t buy beer, you could only rent it. The same may be true for jobs created through typical state and community incentive plans.

CCS Medical announced they were laying off over 100 Tampa Bay area employees and moving their headquarter operations to Texas.

The reason given in a CCS press release was that “Selecting Texas for our corporate relocation was an easy choice. The state of Texas has a superior business climate and a strong workforce.”

In other words, “The Texas Workforce Commission has committed up to $506,000 in training funding; and the City of Farmers Branch is providing $250 per job created, up to $37,500, in direct incentive funding for the corporate relocation.”

Perhaps the prime goal of the new Hillsborough Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee should be to increase area employment in such a way that incentivized job-creators don’t later take the money and run.

Unless the true value of doing business in our Bay Area is more than just the value of bribes, pay-offs and extortion, we are only renting jobs.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


Small loans fight poverty

Posted in Economic Development, Opinion with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

S. 2027: Microfinance and Microenterprise Enhancement Act of 2011


While I agree with the sentiments of Ken Schatz (Small loans fight poverty, letters April, 26, 2012)
I don’t think he fully understands that our money only goes overseas.

While the bill reads in part: “Microfinance institutions and providers have played an increasingly important role in enabling micro-entrepreneurs to graduate from extreme poverty to sustainable living patterns through financial services such as micro-credit, savings, and micro-insurance, as well as skills development, business mentoring, value-chain linkages, and facilitation of producer groups”, not a dime of it goes to help any U.S. citizen/taxpayer.

 In the fiscal year 2010, the United States Agency for International Development provided not less than $262,000,000 in funding for microenterprise development in at least 64 countries, benefitting over 1,600,000 microentrepreneurs and 1,900,000 savers; yet looking at the USID location map ( I can find not a single loan or grant to anyone in this country.  Ironically, Pakistan was one of the largest recipients of U.S. microfinance assistance.

  If Florida sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio should be encouraged to co-sponsor any assistance bill, it should be to create and support microfinance institutions for returning U.S. military troops and their families.

 Fred Jacobsen, Pres.

Hillsborough Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , on April 5, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Hillsborough taxpayers paid many tens of thousands of dollars on County economic development studies to determine which specific industries should be targeted in order to create local high-paying jobs.

Those “target industries” included:

  • Biotechnology & Medical Devices
  • Medicine & Medical Management
    • Electronic Health Records
    • Medical Simulation & Training
  • Cross-Business Functions
    • Shared Services
    • Business Analytics
    • Information Technology
    • Headquarters Enabling Functions
  • Financial Services
    • Middle/Back Office Operations
  • Defense & Security
    • Security and Technology
    • Security/Intelligence Consulting

Question: how many of these target industries are represented on the new Hillsborough Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee?

Answer: none, they all went to the land development industry.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Ignoring our own

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Job-creators with tags , on March 14, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

What happened to old-fashioned free market capitalism?

If Bass Pro Shops determined that it would be profitable for them to locate in Tampa, they would, with no incentives.

What happened to Hagan’s Economic Development Task Force recommendation that Hillsborough County incentivize only bio-tech, medical, manufacturing and high-tech businesses?

Adding “destination-retail” to the list to include Bass Pro ignores that few people south of Sarasota or east of Lakeland are likely to visit a Tampa store, with existing stores in Ft. Myers and Orlando; and none of them will stay overnight just to shop here. 

It ignores that most jobs will be low-wage, part-time and no-benefit.  

The County’s math calculates that taxpayers will be repaid in five years, but there seems to be no calculations as to how many existing mom and pop sporting goods business will fall off the tax rolls as a result.

What happened to growing our own?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Hillsborough mobility to nowhere

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Transportation with tags , , , , on March 12, 2012 by verbumsapienti2


To paraphrase a line from Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky, “…shun the frumious Bonder-snatch!”

How is it that “bonding” is so often proposed as a municipal funding source that supposedly does not raise taxes?

Selling bonds to pay for road construction is like charging home remolding to your credit card.

You get what you want now without waiting and you pay it back with future earnings; but the interest payments reduce your spendable income.

As we’ve seen with reduced county income from property and sales taxes, painful budget cuts have to come from somewhere else.

Hillsborough County is already nearly a BILLION dollars in debt in bond obligations, with crippling interest payments.

 Apart from the get-it-now-pay-for-it-later fantasy world we get to live in, who benefits from municipal bonding?

There are the attorneys who actually create the tax-free bonds that are sold by brokers to investors who re-sell them to someone looking for somewhere better than a bank to park their excess money.

Everyone along the line makes a profit, with the end bondholder receiving taxpayer money with no obligation to pay any income taxes.

 Perhaps instead of borrowing money to pay for new roads out to the hinterlands, we should give incentives to employers who build businesses near where people live, and incentives for home builders who build near employment centers?

That way, as we learn to pay as we go, we could also pay off the County debt and use the saved interest payments for something useful, like more buses that run on solar and clean natural gas.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Fourth strike for Hagan

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Politics, taxes, Transportation with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan is batting zero in his attempts at hitting a task force home run.

His Transportation Task Force was formed to recommend a Choo-Choo for Tampa.

His I-4 Task Force was formed to recommend paving over east county farmlands at taxpayer expense.

His Economic Development Taskforce was formed to recommend tax breaks for Bass Pro Shop.

Now he wants an Economic Prosperity Stakeholders Task Force formed to recommend taxpayers footing the bills for new roads, sewers, water, and fire and police services in order to “attract new business”.

 All these task forces have simply cost taxpayers a ton of money in outside consultants’ fees.

To paraphrases a line from the movie Blazing Saddles: “We don’t need no stinking task forces.”

Commissioner Sandra Murman didn’t need a task force to start a very successful incentive program to encourage the actual creation of new jobs.

But then maybe we should save Hagan the time, expense and embarrassment of another failed task force and just give him a walk on this one?

After all, according to Hagan, with all the tax and fee cuts already approved by the BOCC over the past few years, The County isn’t bringing in much money from new businesses anyway, so what’s to lose?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Pony first; cart after

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, taxes, Transportation with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by

Don’t blame over-burdened, under-employed Hillsborough County residents for the lack of infrastructure in downtown Tampa.

The first to benefit would be downtown businesses and land owners; they should be the first to pony up.

They are the private part of public/private partnerships still sitting on the sidelines waiting for the taxpaying public to load the carts for them.

Once the promised high-wage, good-benefit, full-time jobs materialize, the newly employed will shop, eat, play and live downtown.

Their taxes will then also help fund teachers, police, firefighters and public works.

Pony first; cart after.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen