The State of Florida is taking advantage of California’s fitful and shifting re-opening strategies, on top of the state’s already hostile business climate, to woo California businesses into relocating to the Sunshine State.  The latest salvo spotlights Governor Newsom’s failure to issue re-opening guidelines for theme parks – a major generator of jobs and tax revenue – long after such guidelines have been issued for virtually every sector fo the economy.

Jimmy Patronis, the Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida, yesterday released a video aimed at persuading California businesses to re-locate to Florida. The video came on the heels of letters sent by Patronis to a list of high-profile California companies – focusing on shoddy management of state finances and the state’s generally unfriendly business climate.

The script of the video:

“As the state’s Chief Financial Officer, a fourth-generation Floridian and a former small business owner, my mission is to encourage businesses in California to consider moving to the great state of Florida. The fact is politicians in California have treated businesses with complete indifference. It’s been six months since Governor Newsom closed Disneyland and other theme parks and amusement parks in the state and there is no end to reopening in sight. Thousands of people are out of work and people’s livelihoods are on the line. Politicians in California have shutdown businesses, they’ve spent years spending cash they don’t have, and now they’re counting on the federal government to bail them out. Now is the time for Florida to strike and recruit businesses. As Florida’s CFO, I am committed to strengthening the state’s balance sheet, and I will continue reaching out to businesses in California to support Florida communities.”

    • List of California Businesses that Received a Letter from CFO Patronis
    • Wells Fargo
    • The Walt Disney Company
    • Hewlett Packard, Inc.
    • Cisco Systems, Inc.
    • Oracle Corporation
    • Gilead Sciences
    • Qualcomm Incorporated
    • Amgen, Inc.
    • Visa Inc.
    • Synnex Corporation
    • CBRE Group, Inc.
    • Western Digital Corporation
    • PayPal Holdings, Inc.
    • Pacific Life Insurance Company
    • Adobe, Inc.
    • The Clorox Company
    • First American Financial Corporation
    • Lam Research Corporation
    • Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.
    • A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc.

CFO Patronis served on Governor Ron DeSantis’s Re-Open Florida Taskforce and serves on the Enterprise Florida, Inc. Board.

Patronis’s press release pointed out:

The opened Disney parks in Florida, which is one of the Sunshine state’s largest employers, serve as a contrast to California. California theme parks and amusement parks have been shut down in response to COVID for half a year. These parks are still waiting on guidance from the state of California. The city of Anaheim, where Disneyland is located, is facing a $100 million budget shortfall as a result of the closures and the unemployment rate has risen to a historic high of 15 percent since Disneyland closed in March. The Disneyland Resort is California’s largest private employer and employs more than 32,000 people.

Will Disney physically move its California theme parks to Florida? No. But it can shift investment there.  It already has. Intransigence on the part of former Mayor Tom Tait and current Councilman Tom Tait led Disney played a significant role in the company canceling its plans to spend $700 million on a new 4-Diamond hotel in the Resort. Instead that money went to Florida.

Walt Disney World – which is larger than the Disneyland Resort – has been operating for more than two months. No COVID-19 cases have been traced back to the Florida theme parks. It’s overseas theme parks are re-opened. Clearly, Disney understands how to safely re-open its theme parks. Yet Governor Newsom continues to dither while tens of thousands of people remain jobless and communities dependent on tourism/convention-driven business suffer.

And now Newsom’s unreasonable foot-dragging – which is certainly not based on “science and data” – has achieved a starring role in Florida’s ongoing (and successful) campaign to lure businesses and jobs and revenue away from California.