Gov. Rick Scott is targeting the shipping industry as he plans to travel to California next month to try to entice businesses to relocate or expand to Florida.
In a letter to shipping-industry officials Thursday, Scott compared Florida to the tax climate under California Gov. Jerry Brown's "tax and spend administration." Scott noted that he will be leading a two-day trade delegation to California that will start with a reception April 12.
"Now is a great time to give Florida and our ports an opportunity to improve the efficiency, resiliency and reliability of your supply chain," Scott wrote.
The Florida Ports Council, the top lobbying group for Florida's seaports, released a study last month that called for lawmakers to create an advertising effort and incentive program to entice shipping firms to move cargo through the Sunshine State rather than ports in Savannah, Houston, New York or even Los Angeles.
Backers of the study noted that a nine-month slowdown on the West Coast because of labor negotiations is an example of an issue Florida could use in its campaign. Scott made note of the labor dispute in the letter, adding that "Florida ports are undoubtedly a solution to this problem."
Ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Savannah are top non-Florida ports that Florida importers use for Asian cargo.
The California trip is also a follow-up to Scott's first domestic "business development mission," to Philadelphia, in late February. During his inauguration speech in January, Scott said he would travel to "New York, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and others" over the next four years "to recruit you here."