From: Space Florida
Posted: Monday, April 5, 2010
Bipartisan Support Directs Several Key Elements for Space Industry
Prior to the halfway point of the 2010 Legislative Session in Tallahassee, the Florida Senate moved rapidly to pass a critical bill to aid in stimulating economic development and job growth across the state. The bill, sponsored by Senator Don Gaetz (R-Destin), entitled "Jobs for Florida" (SB1752), includes critical funding for Florida's aerospace industry. The inclusion of aerospace and the drive for its passage was initiated by leaders of the Florida Senate, including Senator Mike Haridopolos (R-Melbourne), the incoming Senate President, and Senator Thad Altman (R-Melbourne), chair of the Finance and Tax Committee.
"Floridians have kept our nation on the cutting edge of space exploration and development, and the loss of any Florida space jobs will create overwhelming challenges for the Space Coast and our state's entire economy," Governor Crist said. "I applaud Senators Gaetz, Haridopolos and Altman, as well as Representatives Steve Crisafulli and Ritch Workman, for their commitment to preserving and retaining our leadership in the global space arena."
Space investment included in this bill contains $10 million for project financing and $3 million for business development, which will aid the State's ability - through Space Florida - to attract and expand aerospace businesses. The aerospace portion of this bill is specifically designed to create new jobs at a time when NASA's Space Shuttle retirement is expected to result in significant job losses, estimated at a total of 23,000 people, both direct and indirect.
Also included in the "Jobs for Florida" legislation is $3.2 million to be used for workforce retraining and ultimate retention of displaced, highly skilled Shuttle workers.
"This critical funding support has truly been a timely and coordinated effort," noted Space Florida President Frank DiBello. "Beginning with Governor Crist's initial budget recommendations and support of the Space Transition and Revitalization (STAR) bill, adding in the priorities the Lt. Governor has made as Chair of the Space Florida Board, and now to the pivotal success of SB1752 championed by Senator Gaetz, and supported by Senators Haridopolos and Altman, legislators across Florida are voting to ensure space remains a vital industry in our state."
"The passage of SB1752 demonstrates that Florida is serious about advancing the aerospace industry and keeping this tremendous workforce," stated Lynda Weatherman, president of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. "We applaud this effort and look forward to our continued work with Space Florida to attract and expand aerospace business."
As the second half of Florida's Legislative Session begins this week, a number of space-related bills will be heard in both House and Senate Committees, including:
* STAR Act (Space Transition and Revitalization Bill)
* Commercial Launch Zone
* Workforce Retention Tax Credit
* Research & Development Tax Credit
"Passage of these additional, critical pieces of legislation, send a clear message to the international space industry that Florida is committed to helping them reach their next-generation space goals - and that we are open for business - whether they are involved in commercial, NASA, or Department of Defense space business," added DiBello.
About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida's position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida's aerospace development organization, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive - and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov.
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