As Texas courts General Electric, Tampa economic development exec says: ‘I can guarantee you … we’re in touch with them’

June 12, 2015

Ashley Gurbal Kritzer | Tampa Bay Business Journal
Suitors throughout the Sun Belt are lining up to court General Electric after the company threatened to move its corporate headquarters out of Connecticut, if legislators pass a proposed tax hike.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott sent the company a letter touting the “$3.8 billion tax relief package” his state recently passed, reports the Dallas Business Journal, a sister news organization.
The proposed Connecticut tax hike — and furor it ignited from General Electric (NYSE: GE) and Aetna (NYSE: AET), both of which are headquartered there — comes at an opportune time for Tampa. The Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s real estate team have publicly declared goals to lure a headquarters relocation to the city.
“We don’t comment on specific recruitment projects, but I can guarantee you that if a company comes right out and says it wants to move its headquarters, we’re in touch with them,” Rick Homans, EDC CEO, wrote in an email Thursday.
Of course, as DBJ reports, General Electric’s public statements could be a negotiation technique to land incentives to stay put. But if General Electric doesn’t work out, one site selection consultant offers hope that there’ll be another opportunity for Tampa shortly.
“A recent Gallup poll said people living in Illinois or Connecticut want to get the hell out of there,” Susan Arledge, national site selection leader for Cresa, told the DBJ. “Not that there’s anything specifically wrong with the states, but they have a high cost of living.”