GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE PRESS RELEASE:
As part of his ongoing focus on growing Florida’s economy through job retention and creation, workforce training and economic development, Governor Charlie Crist today announced new legislation to ensure the state’s continued leadership in spaceflight and exploration. The Governor’s announcement came during remarks at the Florida Statewide Space Industry Summit, where he joined Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp and several industry, legislative and community leaders to explore actions that advance Florida’s aerospace economy.
“To continue our proud legacy as the premiere destination for aerospace innovations, Florida’s space program must be bold, robust and daring,” said Governor Crist. “Floridians have kept our nation on the leading edge of space exploration and development, and those who are still engaged are an extraordinary asset we must sustain.”
Governor Crist announced the Space Transition and Revitalization Act, sponsored by Representative Steve Crisafulli and Senator Thad Altman. This new legislation will establish the Space Business Investment and Financial Services Initiative within Space Florida. Supported by the Space Business Investment and Financial Services Trust Fund, and funded by state sales tax revenue from Kennedy Space Center visitor complexes and remaining appropriation funds, the proposed Act will provide assistance for new and expanding aerospace businesses. The legislation will help offset job losses and promote economic growth during the nation’s current transitions in the space industry. The Act will also help secure the Governor’s aerospace budget priorities.
During his remarks, Governor Crist also highlighted his proposed 2010-11 aerospace budget recommendations. The Governor called on the Florida Legislature to invest $32.6 million to help transform Florida’s aerospace industry for tomorrow’s industry needs. The funding includes $20 million for business recruitment activities, such as $10 million in financing assistance for aerospace businesses to help spur business expansion and create new job opportunities, and $3.2 million for workforce development assistance.
To attract and support businesses in need of modern, cutting edge technologies, the Governor’s aerospace budget also includes $12.6 million to support state-of-the-art facilities for space businesses. The projects include Exploration Park on Kennedy Space Center property to expand the capabilities of Florida’s Space Life Science Lab. Additional projects include refurbishing Launch Complex 46, a premiere launch facility designed by Space Florida, and other facilities fulfilling NASA and Air Force contracts.
“By leveraging Florida’s talented workforce, technology and infrastructure advantages, we can further align our state to become the principal hub for public and commercial space exploration,” said Lt. Governor Kottkamp, who serves as the co-chair of Space Florida along with Governor Crist. “Our aerospace industry has a long history of creating jobs and revenue, and we must secure an innovative outlook for the benefit of future generations of Floridians.”
Also in attendance at today’s summit were Congressman Bill Posey, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, Representative Steve Crisafulli, Representative Ritch Workman, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and Space Florida President Frank DiBello, among many other influential aerospace leaders.
For information about Space Florida initiatives, visit www.spaceflorida.gov.
About Space Florida
Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s aerospace development organization, they are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is well-equipped to ensure their continued success.