Did Jeb Bush’s biotech bonanza in Florida go as planned?

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, seated, grabs a pen while being congratulated by State Rep. Ron Klein, left, as state and local officials gather to sign legislation providing funds for Scripps' move to Florida on Nov. 3, 2003. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, seated, grabs a pen while being congratulated by State Rep. Ron Klein, left, as state and local officials gather to sign legislation providing funds for Scripps’ move to Florida on Nov. 3, 2003. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

moving van at VGTI Florida’s lab served as a stark reminder of the risky nature of Florida taxpayers’ $1.5 billion bet on biotech, a wager that was Jeb Bush’s signature economic policy.

Bush announced in October 2003 that he would pay Scripps $310 million to open a Florida lab. Palm Beach County sweetened the pot with $269 million.

Then a popular and powerful second-term governor whose brother was in the White House, Bush envisioned a biotech bonanza — 50,000 jobs in 15 years, demand for millions of square feet of biotech space in northern Palm Beach County, a flood of donations from Palm Beach’s wealthy philanthropists.

But none of those promises has materialized.

Read the Palm Beach Post’s article from this summer on Bush’s plans — and why they didn’t go exactly as planned.

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