Last week: The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance reported continued job diversification in Broward, announcing that Citrix is adding 200 information technology jobs at its Fort Lauderdale location. In August alone, the Alliance working with our cities, Broward County and the state announced the growth of additional companies, including healthcare business-services provider Parallon in Sunrise, Venezuelan pharmaceutical manufacturer Unipharma in Tamarac, and Peruvian agricultural company Camposol Holdings in Pompano Beach. We also see solid job growth in aviation-related manufacturing in Miramar. These projects are bringing millions of dollars in capital investment and hundreds of new high-paying jobs to our area, fostering economic sustainability.
Last week: This week’s big win for downtown Fort Lauderdale and the south bank of the New River is the city commission’s approval for the Marina Lofts project. We have lacked a significant residential catalyst to support the growth of destination businesses in southwest Fort Lauderdale, connecting both sides of the river. Marina Lofts is the catalyst to bring a missing vibrancy to southwest Fort Lauderdale. It will also generate over $3 million of new ad valorem taxes into the city and Broward County while providing affordable rental units creating true live, work and play options for a thriving downtown.
Next week: Florida’s environmental degradation must be an issue that we talk about and solve. Specifically, the Indian River Lagoon and Apalachicola Bay. Gov. Rick Scott brought the full power and influence of his office to bear by taking Georgia to court -- unfortunate when a government is forced to bring legal action against another government, but Georgia’s irrational and blatant disregard for Florida’s environment has caused the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare a fishery disaster for Florida's oystermen in the Bay. The governor also secured a commitment from the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce fresh water flows by over 50 percent from Lake Okeechobee into South Florida estuaries. These actions are a start, but long-term solutions need to be our priority.
Last week: Florida lost a visionary leader in making our public schools regarded as the best in the nation with Tony Bennett's resignation. Education Commissioner Bennett had a singular focus and driving purpose preparing Florida’s children for the 21st Century workplace. The results of Bennett's plan would have vanquished one of Florida’s most challenging reputation misperceptions - mediocre public schools. To retain the best workforce talent we need good jobs and the best rated schools for our children. To attract high skill / high wage jobs to Florida we need to assure successful companies that we have the best workforce; these are unequivocally linked together. A fleeting political gain has cost our state one of the nation's most innovative education thought leaders, robbing Florida’s children of progress toward a rigorous education for success in the 21st Century.
Last week: The Fort Lauderdale City Commission’s forward looking decision to proceed with the Wave streetcar will have major, positive impacts on economic growth in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The public investment in this transit amenity will spur significant private investment along the Wave’s route; growing our local tax base. I predict it will diversify the ad valorem tax burden and ultimately lower taxes to existing individual businesses and residents in the downtown corridor.