The purpose of economic development by local governments is to earn a return for taxpayers by investing in a diverse, resilient economy that produces jobs of the future. As a region, we need to embrace innovation. We can't rely on failed policies of the past that give Billions of taxpayer dollars to big box stores for retail jobs and back office call centers. That's the type of "economic development" that keeps Tampa Bay dead last in median wages for workers among the 25 metropolitan areas of a similar size.
Information technology, education, finance, transportation and healthcare will be unrecognizable within a couple of decades. Artificial intelligence and machine learning is going to impact these industries in ways that we can’t predict. If we embrace innovation, Hillsborough County can lead the nation in job creation and growth.
To create opportunities for our kids and grandkids, we must invest in quality neighborhoods, lifetime education and an innovation friendly ecosystem that nurtures diversity, innovation, job growth and economic resilience. Our Tampa Bay region has the opportunity to become a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. Government needs to make it easy to start and grow jobs, reducing red tape and bureaucratic interference with small businesses that create the jobs of the future. More than that, our county government needs to embrace innovation!
Investing in the past doesn’t make sense, when the future is coming at us so fast! Professional politicians waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing the wrong industries, trying to pick winners and losers. My opponent in next August’s Republican primary actually spoke out on behalf of subsidies for a big box store. Standing in front of his fellow commissioners he made the case for investing in jobs of the past, retail jobs, at a big box store that put local, family businesses out of business! That's a net loss for our region!
Ken “Hollywood” Hagan, my opponent in the Republican primary, is proud to talk about his film commission. He proposed it. He funded it with taxpayer dollars. He continues to sustain it in a vain attempt to lure big box office, Hollywood films to Tampa. After five years and millions in taxpayer dollars, all taxpayers have to show for their money is “The Infiltrator.” Did film incentives earn taxpayers multiples on their investment? No! Top talent has fled Tampa for greener pastures. Hollywood Hagan’s own director of the film commission resigned in search of a better opportunity. Worse still, according to 10Investigates, a local film company received $25,000 in incentives from Hollywood Hagan’s film commission, after making political donations to county commissioners, including Hollywood Hagan.
Ken “Hollywood” Hagan is proud of his efforts to start and support Hillsborough County’s very own film commission. According to an audit of Florida’s now defunct film commission, film incentives returned no more than 41 cents (and probably much less) on each taxpayer dollar obligated. So, if film incentives lose taxpayers money, how is it a good investment? 10Investigates uncovered a film incentive award to one of Hollywood Hagan’s local political donors.
In 18 states that implemented transferable tax credits, employment in the motion picture industry increased by less than 1% per year. In 26 states that implemented refundable credits, there was no measurable effect on job growth. The results are in, and film incentives do not create jobs of the future. So, why does Hollywood Hagan still spend your tax dollars on these failed incentives?
Dale Gordon and Ken “Hollywood” Hagan poured millions of dollars into his failed effort to use taxpayer dollars to lure big box office Hollywood films to Tampa. Regardless, top talent has fled Hillsborough County, and now Dale Gordon has resigned to seek better opportunities! Taxpayers need a servant leader that will fight for the forgotten taxpayer!
Paid by Chris Paradies, Republican, for Hillsborough County Commission, district 2