Government and business leaders met in Cocoa on Monday at the Florida Space and Technology Forum to discuss plans for the post-space shuttle era. Sunshine State News reports that there was a consensus that major changes are required to adapt to a new age of commercial space flight:
“If we’re going to have Florida be at the forefront of the space business, we’re going to have to change the way we do business,” said Dr. George Nield, associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Providing more incentives is one way to do that, but Florida Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos, R-Merrit Island, said streamlining Florida’s government will also make the state more attractive to prospective commercial space companies.
“This is where people should be doing business. We’re going to offer predictability and certainty to businesses as a Legislature,” Haridopolos said, adding that eliminating tax increases and capping spending would show Florida means business.ï»¿
Florida Today reports that about 300 participants and spectators attended the session, including U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey. Officials provided an update on progress in luring new businesses to the Space Coast:
Economic development officials are negotiating with 57 companies that could bring about 5,000 jobs if they can be lured to Brevard.
Though some of those prospects likely will opt to locate elsewhere, those that do come to Brevard will do so in part because of incentives.
“I will tell you that 57 active projects is a lot more than we had last year,” Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, said Monday. “That’s why it’s critical that we look at incentives.”