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Who wins on Enterprise Florida? Money stays but Corcoran says 'it's toast'

House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron
Friday 2 June 2017 19.42

The budget accord between Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature's presiding officers has left some people wondering what's ahead for Enterprise Florida, the public-private partnership that was the target of a bitter feud between the governor and House Speaker Richard Corcoran last session.

Under the plan, the agency that Corcoran targeted for elimination and blasted as "corporate welfare" would lose access to more than $180 million incentive funds intended to pay companies that relocate or bring new jobs to Florida. 

Instead, a grant program operated by the Department of Economic Opportunity would be used to direct money broadly to targeted industries for job training and education, or could be used for infrastructure as part of an economic development deal. 

"It is a pot of money that is available for him to use only for infrastructure and education that is only across the board,'' Corcoran said Friday. But at an availability with reporters on Friday, Scott portrayed the $85 million as money that will be managed by EFI, not DEO.

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The governor spent much of the session away from Tallahassee defending the program, at one point having his political committee finance television ads claiming "the politicians in Tallahassee don't get it" for wanting to cut funding to the programs and having his chief of staff target contracts the state had with Corcoran's law firm. 

Corcoran said he considered the agreement on economic development "a model for the rest of the nation" because "the governor has absolutely now agreed to do zero corporate welfare in the state."

As for the future of EFI, he said:  "Enterprise Florida is still toast. I stand by all my statements."

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