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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Senate pushes back against House plan to kill Visit Florida



The Florida Senate continues to send unmistakably blunt signals that it is not going along with a House plan to completely kill whole agencies like Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida.

During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Thursday, the Legislature’s top economic analyst Amy Baker, showed lawmakers data that indicated that for every $1 the state invests in Visit Florida, it gets $3.20 in return in tax revenue.

That provoked State Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, to ask Baker to clarify that she presents those same numbers to the House.

“You provide services to not just us but to our friends in the House right,” Bradley asked

Baker assured him she did.

“And you’re telling us for every dollar of taxpayer money we spend, we get $3.20 back,” Bradley said in emphasizing the point more than actually asking a question he didn’t know the answer to.

If that was not enough, State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, bluntly told the audience that Baker’s charts showed five of the state’s top economic development programs that generate the biggest return on investment from the state would be killed under a bill the Florida House is pushing that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. Those programs returned as much as $5.60 for every $1 the state invests.

“They all produce a net increase in tax revenue over and above what we invest in them, and all five of those are included in a bill the House passed out of a committee yesterday to abolish,” Latvala said.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2017 3:06pm]


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