Watchdog Group Demands Transparency from Enterprise Florida

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Integrity Florida's Executive Director Dan Krassner disputed numbers put out by Florida's economic development agency Enterprise Florida in front of a Senate committee Thursday.

"It's time to get the facts about the actual jobs that are being contracted, created, we need full accountability," said Krassner to members of the Senate's Transportation, tourism, and economic development appropriations subcommittee.

Krassner says Enterprise has failed to meet it's initial objective set back in 1992 when it set out to create 200 thousand jobs by 2005.

"The results just haven't been there, the promises haven't been kept. The public should have an online database that shows every dollar that was given in the name of economic development, how many jobs did they promise and how many jobs were delivered," said Krassner.

Enterprise Florida reported they've only created 103,544 jobs from 1995 to the present. Integrity Florida points out it's half of the original goal and eight years beyond the target completion date.

"They're citing reports from 1992 that have no bearing on where the organization currently is," said Enterprise Florida Executive Vice President Griff Salmon.

Then there's the whole neck-tie issue. Enterprise Florida introduced the symbol as Florida's business brand, but paid a Tennessee, not Florida firm a one time fee of more than $200,000 to do research on the project.

We asked if a Florida firm could have done the same thing.

"I'm sure any number of Florida based firms could have come up with any number of logos but they wouldn't have gone through the process of doing the research that we did and talking to our business audience," said Melissa Medley, Enterprise Florida's chief marketing and communications officer.

The Tennessee firm North Star Destination did win the bid through a competitive process with Florida firms. Jacksonville based firm On Ideas will develop the second phase of the marketing strategy to roll out the new business brand.

Krassner believes the Florida firms didn't get a fair shake at winning the research bid and could have done just as good, if not a better job.

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