Colt Announces Florida Expansion
Yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott let the cat out of the bag on Colt Manufacturing's plans to create a manufacturing facility in Osceola County, Florida. Scott announced Colt's plans to create a new regional headquarters and manufacturing facility in a vacant building owned by Osceola County.
According to Scott, the center will hire engineering and manufacturing personnel and begin phasing in the first of 63 projected jobs in 2012. Scott says Colt will make a $2.5 million capital investment in the building.
The deal to bring Colt to Florida was apparently worked out by Scott's office, Enterprise Florida, Inc., and the Osceola Economic Development Commission. The deal includes $250,000 from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund along with later funds for workforce training.
"As a supporter of new job creation and the Second Amendment, this announcement sends the clear message that Florida is both open for business and a defender of our right to bear arms," Florida Governor Rick Scott said. "My primary responsibility as governor is to be our state's chief advocate for job creation. My personal involvement in bringing Colt to Florida demonstrates my administration's deep commitment to rebuilding our economy."
Scott was joined at the announcement by Colt Manufacturing's President and CEO Lieutenant General William M. Keys (Ret.). During the announcement, General Keys said Colt had looked at "many possible sites across the nation" but ultimately decided on Florida because it offered "a strong pro-business incentive package."
"Coupled with the low cost of doing business in Florida and a favorable regulatory environment, opening this new facility was very attractive to us."
Keys also said Governor Scott's commitment to Colt's growth plan and the Second Amendment were "instrumental" in the decision.
Colt's training programs will be created by Valencia (Florida) College as part of the overall package.
"Attracting an American icon like Colt, which is one of the world's top brands, is a real coup for our economic development efforts," said Commission Chairman John Quiñones. "Beyond creating new, high-wage jobs, Colt is going to be a great asset to our community."
A Colt website statement describes the planned 16,000 square foot facility as part of its "progressive momentum" to allow Colt to expand into "new markets and business lines parallel with the company's existing 100,000 square foot facility in Connecticut."
Renovations an employee requirements, the statement says, "will be determined over the course of the next several months."
Don't know about anyone else, but this looks like a test of the Florida waters. Florida offers several advantages to Colt's long-time Connecticut residence, not the least of which is the unarguable support of shooters, individual firearms owners and firearms in general. Factor in no state income taxes for workers, a willing (and non-union) workforce and an aggressive incentive package from the state and you have a solution to the common problems of gun companies located in the east: high taxes, union workers and increasingly anti-gun regulations.