Gov.-elect Rick Scott met yesterday with representatives of Florida’s military and defense industry, a sector that plays an important role in the state’s economy.

According to the St. Petersburg Times,

Gov.-elect Rick Scott met with defense contractors and military leaders Monday as he kicked off a five-day, 10-city tour of the state’s major job producers.

Scott is touring some of the state’s top industries as he prepares to make good on a promise to add 700,000 jobs in seven years. Scott’s plan is to reduce taxes and regulations on businesses, which could use the savings to increase payroll.

Enterprise Florida, a public-private venture that works to diversify Florida’s economy and develop high-paying jobs shows that this year alone Florida defense contractors generated

$10.1 billion in Department of Defense Contract awards, ranking the state 6th in the nation. Defense related spending is estimated to be responsible for nearly $60 billion of the state’s gross domestic product. Florida is home to 20 major military installations and 3 unified combatant commands. The state is home to many of the nation’s leading defense companies and a large pool of highly skilled workers and veterans. Florida’s top ten contractors alone employ more than 28,000 Floridians.

A 2008 report commissioned by Enterprise Florida through the University of West Florida shows that Florida’s military and defense industries have “an economic impact of more than $52 billion, supporting more than 723,000 jobs and generating $1 billion in local and state tax revenue.”

The study also indicates that the industry can expect to reach an economic impact of $59.5 billion by 2010.

According to from 2000 through 2009 the Department of Defense awarded over 163,000 contracts worth at least $95 billion to Florida-based contractors. There are over 10,400 defense contractors in Florida.

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