Author: Lilly Rockwell
Date: December 2, 2011
It’s a familiar promise: if lawmakers do something to bring a new business to Florida, the new enterprise will generate thousands of jobs, and boost Florida’s reputation as business-friendly.
Eight years ago, lawmakers were considering whether to spend money to lure Scripps Research Institute into opening a Florida campus, hoping to mimic the biotechnology success that Scripps brought to San Diego.
During a special October 2003 session, lawmakers gave approval for the state to spend $310 million to permit Scripps Research Institute, a non-profit biomedical research operation focused on drug discovery, to build a Florida campus. At the time, some lawmakers were swayed by an economic study that predicted Scripps itself would have over 2,000 employees and bring 44,000 direct and indirect jobs to the South Florida region over 15 years.
The deal that brought Scripps to Palm Beach County eventually totaled over $550 million and resulted in a guarantee that the research outfit would eventually hire 545 people by March 2014. Scripps Florida is on track to meet that goal, with 410 hires made as of June, and plans to level out at about 600 employees.
But documents from the Scripps Florida Funding Corp., an entity that oversees the state’s payments to Scripps, show that Scripps Florida has fallen short of the larger economic impact promised in early studies.
So far, according to economic impact studies contained in the Scripps Florida Funding Corp. annual report, Scripps has generated 11,274 direct, indirect and induced jobs since 2003. While no doubt delivering an economic boost to the region, it seems unlikely Scripps Florida will generate anywhere near 44,000 jobs by 2018. Read more here.