As Florida Gov. Rick Scott sharpens his criticism of the Legislature over tourism marketing spending and job incentive programs, the Florida House has retaliated by proposing a bill that would eliminate agencies charged with carrying out Scott’s biggest priorities.
Less than 36 hours after Scott chastised legislators for threatening to pull back funding for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, the House leadership rolled out a bill set for its first hearing on Wednesday that would kill both agencies.
The bill comes to light as Scott on Thursday was in Orlando making some of his strongest comments yet about how the Legislature’s actions have cost the state jobs with some of the biggest corporations in America. Specifically, Scott blamed the Legislature’s retreat from job incentives as one of the reasons why General Electric refused to move its company headquarters from Connecticut to Florida two years ago.
You don’t stop marketing. Ever. If you’re getting a return, spend more.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Scott said negotiations with GE were ongoing, but then the Legislature cut back job incentive money that could have helped GE.
“The next week it was off,” Scott said at an Enterprise Florida board meeting. “It was clear that the Legislature was saying to GE that we don’t want to do a deal with you.”
Scott on Tuesday asked the Legislature for $85 million in extra funding for Enterprise Florida – the state’s quasi Department of Commerce – to offer incentives for companies to move to Florida. The Legislature refused to give the governor anything last year when he asked for $250 million.
$85 millionThe amount Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked the Legislature for Enterprise Florida to offer incentives for companies to move to Florida. The Legislature refused to give the governor anything last year when he asked for $250 million.
Also on Tuesday, Scott asked for $76 million to continue to support Visit Florida, which markets Florida nationally and internationally to tourists. But the House has threatened to cut that budget because of questionable spending on marketing deals that included British soccer teams, pop music star Pitbull and a racing car team.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran said on Tuesday that there was no chance Scott would get what he was asking for from the House for Visit Florida.
$76 millionThe amount Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked the Legislature for Visit Florida, which markets the state nationally and internationally to tourists.
On Thursday, surrounded by business leaders from around the state, Scott blasted the idea of rolling back tourism marketing.
“You don’t stop marketing,” Scott said. “Ever. If you’re getting a return, spend more.”
Scott said the Legislature’s threat to cut tourism spending threatens the entire state economy because of how important record tourism has been to the state’s financial picture.
“If we don’t fund these things, it will ... it can’t ... it’s not logicial,” Scott said.