Gov. Rick Scott has staked his political future on his ability to bring jobs to Florida, but the first comprehensive review of his efforts shows few successes and hundreds of unfulfilled promises.
The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times reviewed public information for 342 job-creation deals that involve various tax breaks since Scott took office in 2011. Among the findings:
• Of the jobs Scott can influence most, only a fraction now exist. Scott has pledged $266 million in tax breaks and other incentives in return for 45,258 new jobs. But 96 percent of the jobs have yet to materialize, according to state data.
• The total number of new jobs Scott ultimately might deliver doesn’t offset the jobs lost at companies with more than 100 workers in the same time period. Between January 2011 and November 2013, large Florida employers reported 49,163 layoffs, according to federal data.
• Nearly 14 percent of Scott’s deals — 46 in all — have collapsed for various reasons, the state says, and more projects are dormant.
• Florida offers tax breaks in most cases only when a company creates the jobs it promised, and $45 million sits idle waiting to be claimed by companies that have not yet reached hiring goals.
• The jobs outlook isn’t better in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, where Scott inked deals to create 5,456 jobs in exchange for $25.2 million tax incentives and breaks. Jobs created to date: 61.