(1)(a) The Legislature finds that attracting, retaining, and providing favorable conditions for the growth of certain high-impact business facilities, privately developed critical rural infrastructure, or key facilities in economically distressed urban or rural communities which provide widespread economic benefits to the public through high-quality employment opportunities in such facilities or in related facilities attracted to the state, through the increased tax base provided by the high-impact facility and related businesses, through an enhanced entrepreneurial climate in the state and the resulting business and employment opportunities, and through the stimulation and enhancement of the state’s universities and community colleges. In the global economy, there exists serious and fierce international competition for these facilities, and in most instances, when all available resources for economic development have been used, the state continues to encounter severe competitive disadvantages in vying for these business facilities. Florida’s rural areas must provide a competitive environment for business in the information age. This often requires an incentive to make it feasible for private investors to provide infrastructure in those areas.
(b) The Legislature finds that the conclusion of the space shuttle program and the gap in civil human space flight will result in significant job losses that will negatively impact families, companies, the state and regional economies, and the capability level of this state’s aerospace workforce. Thus, the Legislature also finds that this loss of jobs is a matter of state interest and great public importance. The Legislature further finds that it is in the state’s interest for provisions to be made in incentive programs for economic development to maximize the state’s ability to mitigate these impacts and to develop a more diverse aerospace economy.
(c) The Legislature therefore declares that sufficient resources shall be available to respond to extraordinary economic opportunities and to compete effectively for these high-impact business facilities, critical private infrastructure in rural areas, and key businesses in economically distressed urban or rural communities, and that up to 20 percent of these resources may be used for projects to retain or create high-technology jobs that are directly associated with developing a more diverse aerospace economy in this state.
(2) There is created within the department the Quick Action Closing Fund. Projects eligible for receipt of funds from the Quick Action Closing Fund shall: (a) Be in an industry as referenced in s. 288.106.
(b) Have a positive economic benefit ratio of at least 5 to 1.
(c) Be an inducement to the project’s location or expansion in the state.
(d) Pay an average annual wage of at least 125 percent of the areawide or statewide private sector average wage.
(e) Be supported by the local community in which the project is to be located.
(3)1(a) The department and Enterprise Florida, Inc., shall jointly review applications pursuant to s. 288.061 and determine the eligibility of each project consistent with the criteria in subsection (2). Waiver of these criteria may be considered under the following criteria:
1. Based on extraordinary circumstances;
2. In order to mitigate the impact of the conclusion of the space shuttle program; or
3. In rural areas of opportunity if the project would significantly benefit the local or regional economy.
(b) The department shall evaluate individual proposals for high-impact business facilities. Such evaluation must include, but need not be limited to:
1. A description of the type of facility or infrastructure, its operations, and the associated product or service associated with the facility.
2. The number of full-time-equivalent jobs that will be created by the facility and the total estimated average annual wages of those jobs or, in the case of privately developed rural infrastructure, the types of business activities and jobs stimulated by the investment.
3. The cumulative amount of investment to be dedicated to the facility within a specified period.
4. A statement of any special impacts the facility is expected to stimulate in a particular business sector in the state or regional economy or in the state’s universities and community colleges.
5. A statement of the role the incentive is expected to play in the decision of the applicant business to locate or expand in this state or for the private investor to provide critical rural infrastructure.
6. A report evaluating the quality and value of the company submitting a proposal. The report must include:
a. A financial analysis of the company, including an evaluation of the company’s short-term liquidity ratio as measured by its assets to liability, the company’s profitability ratio, and the company’s long-term solvency as measured by its debt-to-equity ratio;
b. The historical market performance of the company;
c. A review of any independent evaluations of the company;
d. A review of the latest audit of the company’s financial statement and the related auditor’s management letter; and
e. A review of any other types of audits that are related to the internal and management controls of the company.
(c)1. Within 7 business days after evaluating a project, the department shall recommend to the Governor approval or disapproval of a project for receipt of funds from the Quick Action Closing Fund. In recommending a project, the department shall include proposed performance conditions that the project must meet to obtain incentive funds.
2. The Governor may approve projects without consulting the Legislature for projects requiring less than $2 million in funding.
3. For projects requiring funding in the amount of $2 million to $5 million, the Governor shall provide a written description and evaluation of a project recommended for approval to the chair and vice chair of the Legislative Budget Commission at least 10 days prior to giving final approval for a project. The recommendation must include proposed performance conditions that the project must meet in order to obtain funds.
4. If the chair or vice chair of the Legislative Budget Commission or the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives timely advises the Executive Office of the Governor, in writing, that such action or proposed action exceeds the delegated authority of the Executive Office of the Governor or is contrary to legislative policy or intent, the Executive Office of the Governor shall void the release of funds and instruct the department to immediately change such action or proposed action until the Legislative Budget Commission or the Legislature addresses the issue. Notwithstanding such requirement, any project exceeding $5 million must be approved by the Legislative Budget Commission prior to the funds being released.
(d) Upon the approval of the Governor, the department and the business shall enter into a contract that sets forth the conditions for payment of moneys from the fund. The contract must include the total amount of funds awarded; the performance conditions that must be met to obtain the award, including, but not limited to, net new employment in the state, average salary, and total capital investment; demonstrate a baseline of current service and a measure of enhanced capability; the methodology for validating performance; the schedule of payments from the fund; and sanctions for failure to meet performance conditions. The contract must provide that payment of moneys from the fund is contingent upon sufficient appropriation of funds by the Legislature.
(e) The department shall validate contractor performance and report such validation in the annual incentives report required under s. 288.907.
(4) Funds appropriated by the Legislature for purposes of implementing this section shall be placed in reserve and may only be released pursuant to the legislative consultation and review requirements set forth in this section.
1Note.—Section 56, ch. 2014-218, provides that:
“(1) The executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity is authorized, and all conditions are deemed to be met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of implementing this act.
“(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the emergency rules adopted pursuant to subsection (1) remain in effect for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.
“(3) This section shall expire October 1, 2015.”