Commentary: Steve Hart’s parlance is rife with “governmental entrepreneurial agent” conceptual thinking. The majority of funding is taxpayer type. Governmental entities will harvest more regulations and costs for businesses. Businesses will get lethargic. Most of the government-inspired thinking on economic developments centers around transportation in a corridor from north to south. Transportation is not a proper challenge to thinking on population growth – the thinking is in reverse – so as to satisfy the government initiative and its control of funding. Is not the problem in the heartland that there really aren’t as many families as there could be? Families promote businesses. Families need good schools first. The local governmental entities should confer less interference and less taxes and fees with the private sector.
Immokalee and the six Florida counties immediately to the north will remain partners in economic development and trade for the next five years.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed an extension to 2016 of the 2001 agreement formally establishing the South Central Florida Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern. The area includes the counties of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands and Okeechobee as well as the communities of Immokalee, Pahokee, Belle Glade and South Bay.
Creation of the rural area of critical economic concern works in partnership with the Florida Heartland Regional Economic Development Initiative, or FHREDI, established in 1994 to promote the region’s economic development. Other partners include Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, or OTTED, and Enterprise Florida.
The rural area of critical economic concern designation provides communities with support for economic development efforts and authorization for waivers of criteria, requirements, or similar provisions of any economic development initiatives authorized in statutes.
Legislation provides counties located in rural areas of critical economic concern with special consideration when dealing with state agencies or qualifying for certain programs.
State agencies designing programs are including the rural area of critical area concern designation as a factor in future program decisions. For example, the Florida Department of Transportation is utilizing the rural area of critical economic concern designation as a consideration in the development of the “Strategic Inter-modal System” for connecting key roads, railways, seaports and airports.
Combine the low cost of doing business with affordable living, and business leaders easily recognize that the region encompassing the six Heartland counties, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee, and communities of Pahokee, Belle Glade, South Bay and Immokalee are a smart location for their bottom line.