By Will Patrick, JMI Capital Reporter
Seventy-five new jobs averaging $62,000 a year: That’s the commitment Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott recently brought back from his brief visit to Brazil. His mission was to spur Florida’s job growth by courting foreign entrepreneurs who could benefit from the state’s attractive business climate. Mission accomplished.Moreover, no costly state-sponsored package of additional tax breaks or other incentives was required this time around. When business taxes and regulations are reasonable enough — a major goal of Governor Scott and the Legislature – Florida’s business climate is attractive enough.The firm responding to Governor Scott’s sales pitch was a Brazilian business venture, America’s Natural Caffeine. It has announced that it will invest $25 million to build a plant in Palm Beach County to process a caffeine-rich Brazilian fruit, guarana. The Governor’s focus on Brazil was no mere happenstance. It’s South America’s largest economy, it has been growing rapidly, and Governor Scott seems intent on positioning Florida well to attract more Brazilian investment in the future.The Governor’s emphasis on jobs is a logical follow-up to his election campaign’s “7-7-7-plan”, which held out the goal of creating 700,000 additional jobs in seven years. Granted, some critics of his Brazilian trip and other job-recruiting efforts say those efforts have yielded meager results thus far – especially when compared to his campaign promises.Yet Governor Scott has been in office for fewer than 10 months, and he’s battling the headwinds of a national economy still stuck in a recession under a President who has been in office for more than 33 months.So it’s unfair to blame the Governor so soon for the slow pace of Florida’s recovery. Moreover, unlike President Obama, the Governor commendably is trying to expand Florida’s employment base by focusing restoring the health of the private sector rather than expanding a public sector that feeds off the taxes and fees exacted from the private sector.After all, the ultimate goal of sound economic development is not only to attract jobs, but to attract sustainable jobs – jobs that will last well beyond any Governor’s time in office. Toward that ultimate goal, the Brazil mission was a small but promising step.