Gov. Scott touts new gun plant good investment
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:13 p.m.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — One of the country's oldest gun manufacturers is expanding in Florida in a move that Gov. Rick Scott called a solid investment for taxpayers and another in a series of projects that will help continue to lower unemployment.
The 175-year-old Colt Manufacturing Co. announced it is bringing 63 jobs along with a new regional headquarters and product manufacturing center to Kissimmee next year. The new engineering and manufacturing positions will pay an average salary of just over $45,000.
The Harford, Conn.-based Colt is making a $2.5 million investment, with the state incentives of about $1.6 million, including $250,000 from Gov. Rick Scott's Quick Action Closing Fund and funds for workforce training.
Asked several times by reporters whether taxpayers should good feel about spending more than $1 million to gain 63 jobs, Scott defended the investment for the project saying it will be monitored to make sure it offers a return for taxpayers.
"And if we don't, then we'll get the money back," he said. He also said officials are looking at incentive deals that were set up before he became governor "and making sure companies do the right thing there."
Osceola County Commission Chairman John Quiñones agreed with Scott's assessment of the Colt project's viability. He Osceola has a "fluid business environment" in which new companies are exempt from paying development impact fees until February.
"The fact is you're creating manufacturing jobs (and) you're creating a vision into the future," Quiñones said. "Manufacturing jobs are so hard to come by. And the fact that they're choosing Osceola County and they're choosing Florida to come to is going to present so many opportunities for Osceola to develop and for potential tourism as well."
That could mean a Colt museum at the Osceola plant, like one at the company's Hartford facility.
Scott said that his focus remains on more job creation for the state.
"I call on companies pretty much every day," he said. "(Colt) is somebody I've called on ... In this case I called the company, made sure they were going to come down here and it's what I do every day."
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