Enterprise Florida cash cow for members….especially BellSouth

August 27, 2006

newspaperThe St. Petersburg Times has published a special report on Enterprise Florida: Deal me in. Enterprise Florida is the public-private partnership responsible for leading Florida’s statewide economic development efforts. Most importantly, it determines where state incentive dollars are spent.

BellSouth Telecommunications began a $700-million modernization and expansion in early 2000. Even though it didn’t appear to meet the criteria, BellSouth applied for a capital investment tax credit from Enterprise Florida.

However BellSouth executive Joe Lacher was a  member of the board overseeing Enterprise Florida, and he had advocated several bonuses for the EF president and other senior managers. BellSouth was the second larger corporate contributor to EF – $400,000 from 2000-2005.
EF staff helped BellSouth revise its application, arranged meetings for BellSouth with aides to Gov. Bush and twice recommended the requests be approved
In December 2003, BellSouth got the credit which saved it $2-million in state taxes.

The St. Pete article is good investigative reporting by the best daily newspaper in the state.

RO NOTE: The current vice-chair of the Enterprise Florida board is Susan Story, Gulf Power, but she wasn’t on board then. Both GOP governor candidates – Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher -are on the EF board.

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