The hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development that has been spent in the past 20 years in the Tampa Bay region has failed.
As of 2016, according the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tampa - St. Pete metropolitan region was still 25th out of 25 in median household income among metros of its size.
We live in an age of innovation. Change is occurring at an ever increasing rate, and our public officials can't keep up.
Professional politicians don't understand the changes that are happening in business, technology and innovation.
So, they give subsidies mostly to the wrong industries.
How do I know that the region's economic development has failed?
I look at median household income. That's the mid-point in household income for families in Hillsborough County. Half make less. Half make more.
This is a much better measure of how regular people are doing than looking at "average income," which is skewed by the amounts made by the super wealthy. I don't hold anything against the super wealthy, but I know that they can take care of themselves. Government policy should benefit the regular Joe's and Jane's lives, not the super wealthy.
"I'm not surprised," said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo, who has tracked Florida since the 1980s. "There's no getting around that a lot of the jobs we've added in the past five years are in leisure/hospitality and in the retail trade, and they tend to pay lower wages."
Nobody should be surprised, when we give Billions of dollars to our tourist industries, professional sports teams, back office centers, and big box stores that most of the jobs created are comparatively lower wage jobs.
None of the so-called "economic development" schemes of my opponent, a 16-year career county commissioner, have changed our region's ranking. My opponent in the Republican primary this August has been opposing innovation, which will never work. You can't keep supporting the same old, tired policies and expect a different result, not in this age of innovation, when change keeps spinning faster and faster.
Most of what my opponent in the August Republican primary does is really a failed attempt to protect his big donors and special interests from disruptive change.
Paid by Chris Paradies, Republican, for Hillsborough County Commission District 2