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Saturday, Apr 19, 2014
Editorials

Bristol-Myers deal adds to good economic times

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Landing pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. The boost in international flights out of Tampa. The Bollywood Oscars event. The real possibility of landing e-commerce giant Amazon.

Tampa is on an economic development roll that may be unprecedented.

The Bistol-Myers Squibb deal announced Thursday - and the promise of nearly 600 jobs that pay an average of $65,000 a year - is a jolt to the economy in every conceivable way.

Beyond the anticipated $37 million payroll and $21 million in capital investments, the company brings with it an image change for an area long viewed as a call-center hub.

The company says its North American Capability Center will be staffed with workers supporting its needs in information technology, marketing and business services. It complements the area's burgeoning medical and biotech research facilities associated with the University of South Florida.

The news followed by a day the announcement that Copa Airlines was scheduling four flights from TIA to Panama City, a gateway to Latin America. Major daily international flights can have an economic impact of $150 million.

Two weeks ago, county and tourism officials announced the International Indian Film Academy's Weekend & Awards gala will be held in Tampa next June, a first for the United States. The potential economic impact is $11 million.

On the horizon is a decision by Amazon on whether to choose Hillsborough for a 1-million-square-foot warehouse in Ruskin that would lead to 1,000 jobs averaging $50,000.

The Tampa Bay area has long been lacking in Fortune 500 companies. Bristol Myers, No. 158 on the Fortune list, will add one.

Amazon, No. 49, could add another in a matter of months.

Credit goes to the agencies and economic development teams that work to promote the area: the Tampa-Hillsborough County Economic Development Corp., Visit Tampa Bay, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa International Airport, among others.

In some instances, elected officials from different agencies worked together for the common good.

Three of the deals have something else in common. Government offered economic incentives.

But those incentives won't be delivered until the promised jobs are delivered. That's a fair deal.

By every measure, all of these deals are worthy of applause.

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