Anti-Economic Development & Tourism Bills Advance Despite Vocal Opposition

By: Carolyn Johnson

A few moments ago, the Florida House Rules and Policy Committee voted by a 15-3 margin to advance HB 7005, a bill that would end economic diversification efforts in Florida, including eliminating the economic development toolkit, international programs, marketing and small business assistance.

The same committee also voted, by a 15-2 margin, to support HB 9, sponsored by Rep. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast), which restricts the operations of VISIT Florida, reallocates funds originally intended for tourism marketing and reduces collaboration.

Despite overwhelming opposition from citizens in attendance and several thousand emails sent to lawmakers by Florida Chamber members opposing the bill, the conversation of eliminating Enterprise Florida and drastically reducing the funding of VISIT Florida will now move to the Florida House Floor.

The Florida Chamber believes the state must continue to fund initiatives that support diversifying the economy and attracting visitors and businesses to our state. HB 7005 and HB 9 has already generated national media attention and sends a signal that Florida’s state legislature is no longer an active partner in‎ job creation, diversifying our economy and supporting our important tourism sector.

Looking ahead, your efforts and comments will continue to be needed. So please, “stay tuned” for additional announcements on how you can help. We hope you will continue to join our fight to oppose any efforts to dismantle the state’s necessary and results-proven role in economic development and tourism marketing.

What’s Next?

As indicated below, both HB 7005 and HB 9 are going to the House Floor for their next vote.