Central FL Branding Summit, More Crony Capitalism?

This tweet from Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs about the “Central Florida Branding Summit” got my attention.

Maybe I am just cynical and pessimistic, but this video looks like a whole bunch of hype, and I have to wonder at what expense will this branding project be to the taxpayers of central Florida.

As this marketing strategy crosses jurisdictional boundaries, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joins Mayor Jacobs saying that “to brand ourselves as a business hub has to be a regional effort.”

Mayor Jacobs says one of these marketing strategies will be to “invest in digital messaging boards, large, almost like walls, turning our walls into digital media communication tools” at the Orange County convention center. Apparently, these boards are necessary because central Floridians “need to tell people how awesome we are when they (visitors) are here”.

“Digital media communication tools” the size of walls sound super cool, but I wonder how much they will cost the taxpayers.

And then, once our mayors have mesmerized the business owners from around the world with our glitzy walls, will they then lure them with targeted tax credits and exemptions, expanding further the government’s power in the marketplace, picking the winners and losers? Long lives crony capitalism, at the expense of the little guy…

How about the mayors give up their pet projects and focus on real issues that matter to all Florida business owners, large and small?

The mayor should turn her attention to promoting transparency and accountability in government spending by making government contracts public. Another way for the mayor to help all business owners is to work with other Florida leaders to eliminate burdensome regulation and unnecessary licensing, and to streamline permitting. Personally, I waited about 2 months for a permit to tap into the county water main due to personnel problems involving a personal leave of absence and a termination of public employees.

So, pardon me while I scoff at this “branding summit” razzle-dazzle! We need leadership that offers real solutions not smoke and mirrors, or in this case, digital messaging boards.

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