DEO Press Releases

Statement of Executive Director Jesse Panuccio, Florida Department Of Economic Opportunity, to the Florida Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism

Apr 01, 2013

Good afternoon Chair Detert and Senators of the Committee.  I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today, and would like to provide a few brief remarks to begin my confirmation process.

Having served on Governor Scott’s staff for the past two years, I am honored to take on a new challenge as Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity.

As this Committee knows, the Legislature created DEO as a single state agency charged with coordinating and streamlining various economic development functions.  Working with our partners at Enterprise Florida and Workforce Florida, we handle a broad array of responsibilities including re-employment assistance, labor-market analysis and forecasting, community development and planning, granting and monitoring of economic incentives, and monitoring of regional workforce boards. 

The agency, only eighteen months old, is still in its infancy.  We are working hard to realize the vision of the 2011 legislation, and each day brings continued progress and new efficiencies that are helping Florida’s economy recover.

My commitment to Governor Scott and the Legislature is to ensure that the vision for DEO is realized, and that we carry out our duties in a transparent, accountable, and efficient manner.  Those will be the watchwords of DEO under my leadership.    Every taxpayer dollar we spend—whether on a business incentive, a community development grant, or through a re-employment check—must be wisely deployed and carefully monitored.

The 2011 legislation gave us the tools we need to help foster economic prosperity in this state.  Now we need sound administration, and I am committed to making that my legacy at DEO.

I am also pleased to report that, after nearly three months at DEO, I have found that the agency benefits from a dedicated, diligent, and determined staff.  Working with the DEO team is inspiring, and I am confident we are going to accomplish great things together.

I am also very fortunate to be taking the reins at DEO under a Governor and Legislature who are committed to establishing policies that promote economic growth and prosperity.  The evidence shows that these policies are working and are fostering an economic recovery. 

Our unemployment rate of 7.7% is at its lowest rate in four years—the second largest drop in the nation since the recession.  We have had 29 consecutive months of over-the-year decline in unemployment.  Initial claims for re-employment assistance are down nearly fifteen percent from a year ago.

Florida’s economy has also added nearly 300,000 private sector jobs since Governor Scott took office, and our annual job growth rate has exceeded the national average every month since March 2012.

I am committed to helping Governor Scott and this Legislature continue these positive trends.  I look forward to working with this Committee to make it so, and both I and the rest of the DEO team are available to you at anytime.

Thank you again for this opportunity. 

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