Is Florida Closing For Business?
By: Carolyn Johnson
On Wednesday, February 8 at 1 p.m., the Florida House Careers & Competition Subcommittee will take up proposed legislation that will completely eliminate Florida’s economic development and tourism agencies. PCB CCS 17-01 will eliminate Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA, as well as several dozen programs and organizations that have helped make Florida a leader in job growth and economic diversification.
This legislation sends a signal that Florida’s state government is no longer an active partner in job creation, diversifying our economy, or supporting our important tourism sector. Additionally, the bill does the following:
- Ends economic diversification and tourism marketing efforts in Florida, including eliminating the economic development toolkit, international programs, marketing, and small business assistance;
- Raises Taxes– Early estimates show that this legislation could increase taxes by $89.1 million. In addition, on average, Florida households save $1,535 a year as a result of visitor activity driving increased revenue to the state;
- Hurts Jobs– Every 85 visitors account for 1 job in Florida. Enterprise Florida is in the business of attracting high-wage jobs and high-growth industries; and
- Makes Florida Uncompetitive– Nearly every state has similar programs, and this legislation will put Florida at a competitive disadvantage in attracting businesses and visitors. If we could compete on our sunshine-soaked beaches and lack of income tax alone, we would win. But the fact is, our competitors are not giving up this important economic development tool anytime soon.
Wednesday’s hearing will be important to save Florida’s economic development and tourism efforts. Come to Tallahassee to share how these organizations benefit your business. The Florida Chamber will assist with registering visitors for the committee meeting, and supplying you with any additional information you might need. If you plan to attend Wednesday’s hearing, email Carolyn Johnson the following information:
- Name and title
- Company name:
- Cell phone and email address:
- Are you willing to speak to the press?
- Are you willing to meet with legislators?
If you are unable to attend, you can still make your voice heard. Contact committee members on the importance of VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida.