Credit: David Albers
Gov. Rick Scott ended his statewide “Million Miles for a Million Jobs” tour Friday at a Bonita Springs business as he promoted his legislative agenda of tax breaks and incentives for businesses. Scott visited Global Tech LED off Old 41 Road after making stops earlier in the day in The Villages and Sarasota.
“This state is full of great companies and people trying to build a life for them and their families and their employees and Global Tech is an example of what is going on all across our state,” he said. Global Tech has added 14 new employees over the past two years. In 2014, the company, in business since 2008, relocated from East Naples to Bonita Springs, giving it room to grow. Its new location spans 25,000 square feet.
In the past few years, its workforce has expanded from 15 employees to nearly 60 at its headquarters. It also has sales representatives across the country and around the world. On his whirlwind three-day tour, Scott also made stops in Tampa, Sunrise, Orlando, Boca Raton, Rockledge and Green Cove Springs.
Scott touted the creation of more than 1 million jobs in the state over the past five years since he took office, giving credit to companies like Global Tech and other local manufacturers, such as Azimuth Technology in Naples and Storm Smart in Fort Myers, whose executives stood alongside him as he spoke about the state’s success in a warm warehouse. “We have 300,000 job openings in the state right now, 300,000. You can get a job in the state,” Scott said.
Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who joined Scott on the tour, said Florida is showing other states and Washington, D.C. how it’s done, governing with less taxes, less government and more freedom for business owners. He pointed to the oversized blue bus they arrived in parked out front, with the number 1 million on it.
“It’s not just a number. That’s a person, that’s a family that is now able to have the pride and dignity of providing for their family and meeting the needs of their home, their budgets,” he said. Since he took office, Scott said the state has cut taxes 50 times and has done away with 4,000 regulations. “We have thousands of people moving to our state right now,” he boasted.
Besides celebrating job creation, Scott used the tour to promote his latest tax cut plan and to push a new economic development plan that includes the creation of a $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund to lure more businesses to the state, a move that has drawn some opposition. The final stop drew a crowd of dozens of Scott supporters, including government and economic development leaders from Lee and Charlotte counties. “Global Tech LED is delighted to have Gov. Scott come visit us. We are so pro-Gov. Scott because he’s so job oriented and Florida needs to be job oriented to secure jobs here in the state of Florida,” said Gary Mart, the company’s CEO, a few hours before the visit.
Global Tech’s electrical component parts are manufactured in St. Petersburg and its products are finished off at its headquarters. The company sells LED fixtures for new construction and retrofit kits to convert traditional HID, or high output, lighting systems to LED for commercial use indoors and outdoors. Its fixtures include streetlights, parking lot lights, ceiling lights and flood lights. “The situation is that Gov. Scott sees that we have to be more than just a tourist destination, that we have to start bringing manufacturing jobs to the state of Florida because it’s evening out the tourism and the hospitality sector with manufacturing jobs that will allow higher tech and higher paid jobs to come to Florida,” Mart said.
By Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News