I was selected as one of ten business leaders to meet with Governor Charlie Crist at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce this morning to discuss our businesses, what we’re seeing in the marketplace, and what the state can do (or stop doing) to make it better for us.
It was a brief meeting, so there wasn’t time for extensive discussions, but I was impressed with the governor’s understanding of the issues we are facing and the resources that are already available from the state to support us. He rattled off web sites for a variety of tools and information, along with real estate sales statistics and information about Florida’s piece of the federal stimulus plan.
I mentioned my concern about the legislature repealing the sales tax exemption for advertising services and he said, “I doubt that will happen.” I replied, “I hope you’re right.”
Joel Giles from Carlton Fields asked the Governor about Florida losing some of its appeal with rising property tax and insurance costs, and people selecting other southeastern states to put down roots. Citing real estate statistics and a couple anectdotes, he concluded his answer by clutching his head and saying, “people are going to wonder why they didn’t take advantage of this market, with the deals available out there. If I had the money to invest, I’d buy some real estate right now, another condo or something.” Those other states are nice, but they still aren’t Florida.