DON'T THROW MONEY AT TAX INCENTIVES...USE IT FOR EDUCATION! DUH!
The St. Petersburg Times' Lucy Morgan is enjoying the more comfortable weather and sights of Seattle this week (lucky devil!), keeping an eye on the Florida legislators who are there attending the National Conference of State Legislators. And she heard from one of the most influential businessmen in America --- if not the world --- that tax incentives which local and state leaders love to throw at businesses to relocate to their area is not the main thing that attract tech minds and savvy businesspeople there.
Microsoft chairman/co-founder Bill Gates told the gathering Friday that "K-12 and university education trump all others in attracting new business...It's a positive R and D (research and development) environment and a state where the talent enjoys coming and working there and raising kids in that location."
Sounds to me like an area that puts it's money into good schools, parks and recreation facilities, a good cultrual life, and promotes diversity has a better chance to attract new business than an area which simply throws money at a company in incentives. Maybe our city and county leaders here in Polk County could learn something from Mr. Gates' comments.
The world's most famous college dropout also told those in attendance that immigration restrictions imposed after the 9/11 attacks are affecting the flow of great minds to America. Gates said that the nation needs a balance between the needs of national security and the need to continue the flow of great minds to our universities.
And you know where legislators are, lobbyists will follow...and they're in Seattle for this conference, as Ms. Morgan noticed.
BTW: For those of you who are continiously peed off like I am about all the spam we get in our e-mail...you'll be interested to know that even Bill Gates gets spammed.
"I was offered a college degree on the Internet, and another one offered to pay all my legal costs for a few dollars a month," Gates joked.