VISIT FLORIDA and Economic Development Bill Poised For Legislative Review
Wednesday, June 7 the Florida Legislature will officially kickoff Special Session 2017-A, and your Florida Chamber of Commerce will be at the Capitol making sure your voices are heard.
The three day Special Session 2017-A was announced last Friday, during a press conference with Governor Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron, to address economic development programs and public education. Under the guidelines contained within the Governor’s proclamation calling for this Special Session, session officially begins at 9:00 a.m. today, Wednesday, June 7 and extends to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 9.
During the same press conference last Friday, Governor Scott also announced his intention to veto HB 5501, bad for business legislation that would have cut VISIT FLORIDA funding by two-thirds and eliminated targeted economic incentives under Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) while slashing their operating budget. The Florida Chamber had opposed HB 5501 and fought efforts by members of the House to shutter VISIT FLORIDA and zero out economic development funding during the Regular Session.
Since that announcement, both the Senate and House have filed bills related to economic programs. Both bills include $76 million to fully fund VISIT FLORIDA’s proven, high-yield tourism marketing efforts and establish the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to be funded at $85 million to promote public infrastructure and individual job training.
As the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Task Force reported earlier this year, infrastructure investment is critical to Florida’s competitiveness and economic growth, and talent is quickly becoming the new economic development tool of choice. Your Florida Chamber team will keep you informed of the Special Session’s progress over the next several days.
How Can You Help?
House and Senate committees are scheduled to meet this afternoon and Thursday morning with the expectation that final floor votes take place prior to the Special Session concluding on Friday. Please make plans to attend and make your voice heard in support of tourism marketing and economic development investments. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Frank Walker.