Florida legislators join other states to end using taxpayer dollars as incentive to move companies across states

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In 2011, firearms manufacturer Colt is offered $1.6 million in taxpayer dollars to bring 63 jobs to Kissimmee.

The jobs never arrive.

Four years later, Hertz is offered $84 million to relocate to Florida from New Jersey.

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The company moved, then declares bankruptcy.

Around the same time, Digital Risk notified the state of hundreds of layoffs despite agreeing to an incentive deal.

On Monday, members of the Florida legislature joined their counterparts in other states to call for a multi-state plan to end corporate incentives that move companies from one state to the other using taxpayer funds.

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While Florida has not signed on to the multi-state agreement, the legislature has nonetheless reduced funding for tax incentives since 2017.

But as long as other states are still offering up tax breaks, the temptation of jobs for cash remains.

Critics, including many right-leaning libertarian groups have long decried these incentives, they allow the states to pick winners and losers, distorting the free market.

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The bill to enter Florida into a multistate compact has not yet passed the legislature which, although recently skeptical of tax breaks for jobs, has shown hesitation to completely abandon the practice.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.