Kissimmee, Florida, which is just outside of Orlando, is not a large town, but it suffers from economic problems. Florida Governor Rick Scott worked out a deal with gun manufacturer Colt to build a plant in Kissimmee, and bring some much-needed, high-paying jobs to the area. Now, though, Colt has all but backed out, leaving taxpayers on the hook for an empty building, to the tune of $150,000, according to a story on WPXI News.
That might not sound like much, but consider two things: First, taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for anything like this. Second, in an economically depressed area, $150,000 is a lot of money. That could mean that what little tax revenue there is that was supposed to go to roads, schools, or other improvements now has to pay for this nonsense. It could mean a temporary tax hike somewhere (that would become permanent). It could mean that any ideas they had for tax cuts are now scrapped. It could mean a whole lot of things, none of which is good for the taxpayers or the county.
Gov. Scott offered more than $1 million in tax incentives to get Colt into Florida. However, back in January, Osceola County, where Kissimmee is located, had to send a letter to Colt asking that they comply with the agreement, and pay some rent, or face having the lease terminated.
The county spent $500,000 renovating a 16,000 square foot building, in exchange for Colt investing $2.5 million in the county and creating 63 high-paying jobs. Colt paid back $50,000 for not meeting their 10-job benchmark in 2013, but they haven’t done anything else.
Osceola County threatened to evict Colt so they could make the facility available to someone who might actually use it to create some jobs. According to a story on Guns.com, Colt is struggling financially and may not be able to push forward with their plans.
That’s a major problem because taxpayers have been on the hook for corporate financial troubles way too many times. While Colt may not have known they would run into these kinds of troubles at the time they made the agreement with Osceola County, it’s a little ridiculous to think that they can’t at least pay for their end of things, even if they can’t open the plant down there.
The story on WPXI says that Colt is now telling Osceola County to pay the state the remaining $150,000, which they themselves owe, of a deal from which they seem to be walking away. They do have until October to create the promised jobs, but after three years of… nothing… it’s not likely they’ll do anything in the next six months.
Featured image by Colt. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia