Monday, December 7, 2009

Letter to Governor Crist & Florida Cabinet from Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

December 3, 2009

The Honorable Charlie Crist


The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Dear Governor Crist:

Congratulations on the success of the Florida Small Business Summit recognizing the many contributions of Florida’s small business owners and the important impact they make to our state’s economy. I was impressed with the broad diversity of businesses represented by those invited to participate in the summit and congratulate you for your leadership in advancing innovation and excellence in Florida.

I am writing to also encourage that future state-sponsored events promoting and recognizing Florida’s small businesses are more inclusive of representatives from two important industries in Florida: the renewable energy and the film, entertainment and television industries. These two industries hold great promise for the future of our state, compliment the strengths we already have, and help lead the nation on several levels.

As you probably already know, Florida’s film, entertainment and television industry is strong and has tremendous potential. Florida’s tourism and the film, entertainment and television industry go hand-in-hand and complement each other. Tourism, however, is vulnerable to the recession, while the film, entertainment and television industry is almost recession-proof.

According to a study on Florida’s Film and Entertainment Industry Economic Impact Analysis in 2007, film and entertainment-related spending accounted for:

• $17.9 billion in GSP (Florida’s Gross State Product)
• $8.5 billion in personal income
• $498 million in tax revenue to Florida
• 207,800 jobs

In 2008, every dollar of film incentives provided by the State is associated with $22 in additional gross state product and $1.44 in additional tax revenue. The study shows that over 68,000 jobs were created in 2007 directly in arts, entertainment and recreation services.

Additionally, due to spending in the industry supply chain and industry payrolls, jobs were created in other parts of the Florida economy. These spinoff jobs included:

· 28,620 jobs in professional and technical services
· 26,520 jobs in information services
· 11,870 jobs in construction
· 10,810 jobs in retail trade

Florida’s renewable energy businesses also play a pivotal role in transforming our economy and way of life. Although one small business (Hypower Inc.) in this area was included among the summit participants, I think we can and should do better at including more in future state-sponsored events. The American Solar Energy Society’s recent report forecasts nearly 37 million green-collar jobs by 2030 in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry. Florida’s green-collar workforce can only grow if we invest to build and strengthen our renewable energy businesses.

In his book Hot, Flat and Crowded, Thomas Friedman writes “We are not going to regulate our way out of the problems of the energy-climate era. We can only innovate our way out, and the only way to do that is to mobilize the most effective and prolific system for transformational innovation and commercialization of new products ever created on the face of the earth – the U.S. marketplace.” We must do a better job to build and strengthen Florida’s renewable energy and energy conservation and efficiencies businesses, which contribute to Florida’s innovation and excellence. Florida must do a better job to create the environment for what Friedman describes as the spurring of “massive, no-holds-barred-everybody-in-their-garage-or-laboratory innovation,” which will lead us to new sources of clean energy.

Once again, thank you for your vision and leadership in recognizing Florida’s small businesses. I appreciate you taking the time to consider my request. Clean, green industries such as the renewable energy and the film, entertainment and television industries are on the cusp of the seismic paradigm shift we face and can help spark a healthy economic and cultural rebirth in Florida.

Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

No comments:

Post a Comment