Gov. DeSantis outlines pro business measures at Broward speech
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis outlined how he is streamlining processes for business and took a veiled shot of New York’s rejection of Amazon during a keynote speech at the Broward Workshop’s State of the County Forum on Thursday.
After Florida Chamber Executive VP Tony Carvajal presented slides showing New Yorkers and other northeasterners leaving for Florida, DeSantis said the Sunshine state is benefitting from the follies of other states.
The state is sending a message that “we are open for business” and “won’t demagogue” companies that want to come, DeSantis said to a packed house at the Signature Grand in Davie. The New York borough of Queens lost the Amazon HQ2 after some politicians questioned the incentives given to the company and focused on issues like pay and unionization.
In one example of uncluttering bureaucracy, DeSantis said he is convening occupational licensing boards with a message that it’s OK to have regulations and licensing requirements to protect the public, but not to create guilds and stifle competition. He expects to have measures to present to the Legislature.
For example, DeSantis said it take 1,700 hours of study to become an interior designer.
DeSantis said his three appointments to the Florida Supreme Court will apply the law as written and not try to create new laws. That’s better for the business climate because the state will have more certainty in its legal climate, DeSantis said.
A top priority in the state is to invest in human capital, DeSantis said, noting that U.S. World & Report has ranked the state’s university system the top system nationally. The University of Florida making the top 10 list of public universities is notable. He met with people in New York recently and they were surprised that UF is ranked higher than the University of Texas at Austin
“Part of it is spreading the word about that,” he said.
In addressing a shortage of skilled labor in the state, DeSantis said he wants to make the state No. 1 in workforce education by 2030 instead of being middle of the pack. He expects to have initiatives, such as apprenticeship programs, to present to the Legislature.
He has asked the state’s education commissioner to cancel the controversial Common Core standards at K-12 schools and re-evaluate testing and curriculum. That process will take much of 2019 before changes will be proposed to the Legislature.
He wants to emphasize computer science and technology and said the state has added $10 million to train high school teachers in computer science.
DeSantis received a hearty round of applause when he talked about the need to teach civics in high schools. People above 65 understand American government, but for those under 25
“it’s like falling of fa cliff to just understand basic civic knowledge.”
He thinks high school graduates should be able to complete the same type of tests given to those attaining U.S. citizenship.
Carjaval gave a generally upbeat assessment of the state and Broward economies.
The state has added 209,000 jobs over 23 months, which is one in 11 jobs created nationally.
Broward has added 16,162 private jobs, which is one in 15 in the state. The strongest growth sector is business and professional services.
Some people are coming back into the labor market in Broward, which explains why its 3.8 percent unemployment rate is slightly higher than the state’s 3.4 percent rate.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony gave a short talk and said he was introducing more training for the department. The department only had five training personnel, which wasn’t enough to keep up.
Training of the department has been one of the controversies in the wake of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. DeSantis removed Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and replaced him with Tony.
The launch of Tech Lauderdale, which is powered by the South Florida Technology Alliance, was announced by Richard Berkowitz, who cochairs the Workshop’s technology committee.
The group will help recruit and train STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, enhance educational offerings, provide access to tech resources and promote Broward as a tech hub.
The group is supporting the $20 million, 60,000-square-foot Broward Innovation Center planned at Nova Southeastern University.