Jacksonville Needs to Invest in People, Quality of Life, Not Throwing More Taxpayer Dollars at Corporations

It’s time to rethink Jacksonville’s incentive programs.

While it is mostly behind us now, the pandemic has fundamentally changed how people live and work. Certainly, corporate America is going to have to change how it interacts with employees as Americans ponder whether they are going to work remotely, come to the office or try a hybrid of both options. All this being the case, fewer companies will be demanding more commercial office space and probably will be cutting costs on that front.

This opens up the question of why Duval County and many cities are still throwing incentives at corporations–and not their employees–to relocate.

People are leaving big cities due to quality of life issues. Unfortunately, here in Jacksonville, the city government has just approved $21 million to move a company from New York to the First Coast with a promise to hire 500 people. The $21 million will be used for hiring but for corporate relocation expenses.

The money would have been better spent to boost our quality of life in Duval County. This kind of investment will encourage people to stay here and remain in Jacksonville now and in the years to come, especially with an increasing number of people being able to work remotely.

Corporations will follow their employees and move to Jacksonville and other places with attractive quality of life to be closer to their workforce.

The world is changing faster than government ever recognizes. Duval County has a chance to be a leader in the new economy, by recognizing that people are the key to a better future. It’s time the city government recognizes this.

 

Matt Schellenberg was first elected to the Jacksonville City Council back in 2011 and won a second term in 2015. He was term-limited in 2019.

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