Governor vists business development expo


Historic City News has been informed that Governor Charlie Crist, continuing his commitment to strengthening Florida’s economy, visited a St. Johns County business development expo to promote economic development programs for Florida’s job seekers and businesses.

Crist also visited Osceola Elementary School in St. Augustine to emphasize his commitment to securing education funding, including federal stimulus dollars and funds from the Seminole compact signed in December 2007.

“While I continue to work with the Florida Legislature to create new economic opportunities for Florida families and businesses, I encourage Floridians to take advantage of the programs already available and providing help,” said Governor Crist. “During these challenging economic times, I remain committed to re-invigorating Florida’s economy and putting Floridians back to work.”

While in St. Augustine, he visited the First Coast Business Development Expo, hosted by the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council. During his visit, Governor Crist highlighted Florida’s job matching Web site www.EmployFlorida.com, Cover Florida Health Care, education priorities and the benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for Floridians.

Governor Crist also encouraged business representatives to attend an upcoming public seminar on Saturday, April 18, 2009, on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach. Hosted by the Florida Department of Management Services’ Office of Supplier Diversity, the “Energizing Florida’s Economy: Seminar on Florida Stimulus Package” will provide information on how the federal stimulus package will impact Florida’s businesses.

Business representatives will hear from Don Winstead, Special Advisor to the Governor for the Implementation of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with senior level officials from state agencies, including the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration. The seminar is open to the public, and individuals can RSVP to (850) 487-0915 or osdhelp@dms.state.fl.us.

At Osceola Elementary School, Governor Crist expressed optimism that Florida will receive the necessary waiver that will ensure Florida receives its fair share of federal stimulus dollars for education. In February, Governor Crist sent a letter to federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan urging him to use expediency in setting the parameters under which states would qualify for a waiver as permitted under the federal legislation and later met with Secretary Duncan in Washington, D.C. Florida is preparing its application and waiver for education stimulus funding and will submit it as soon as the U.S. Department of Education completes instructions for the application.

Governor Crist also discussed proposed legislation that will allow taxpayers to track every dollar for K-12 education. House Bill 883, sponsored by Representative Robert Schenck, along with Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla in the Senate, requires school districts to spend a minimum of 70 percent of operating dollars directly in the classroom. The increased transparency will ensure that education funds are spent wisely and responsibly on students and their classrooms.

Governor Crist has remained committed to the original compact signed with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in December 2007. Recently, the Florida School Boards Association, Florida Association of District School Superintendents and Florida Education Association demonstrated their support of the 25-year compact with the Seminole Tribe as a much-needed funding resource for Florida’s students and teachers. Over the next 25 years, the compact is estimated to provide a minimum of $2.6 billion for education, including $288 million this year.

The state government share of this federal stimulus funding is subject to appropriation by the Florida Legislature, and Governor Crist looks forward to working with the Legislature to obtain the necessary approval. For more information about Florida’s use of the federal recovery dollars, please visit www.FlaRecovery.com.

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