Eliminating economic incentives and tourism marketing programs, and the negative impact that has on job creation is the topic of discussion on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.
“Basically, what it comes down to is ‘Do we want to continue to diversify our economy with some of these targeted industries so we can stop the brain-drain that’s occurring here in Florida?’” said REP. JOE GRUTERS. “I think the best thing we can do is reform these [systems] rather than completely eliminate [incentives programs], which is what I think the two bills that are moving forward in the house right now are trying to do
Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, talked about the significant role played by economic incentives and why the progress of Florida House bills to eliminate Enterprise Florida programs and to reduce the budget for VISIT Florida, the state’s marketing agency, by 67 percent is not the right move for the Legislature to take. Gruters, along with others in the House are working with Governor Rick Scott’s office to craft proposed legislation in the form of House Bill 889 (HB 889), which would add more transparency to the incentives and tourism marketing systems already in place rather than scrapping them outright.
“What we want to do is continue to make things better, not completely eliminate [economic incentive programs],” he said. “So what [HB 889] does is…put transparency in the process, it mirrors some of the other government agencies that exist in terms of the insider dealings that we’ve seen, making sure contracts are open and transparent and really just cleaning up the system to put more oversight in place to make sure that some of the problems that we’ve experienced and we’ve seen over the last couple of years get cleaned up. I think we’re up to about 16 people who have agreed to co-sponsor this bill. We’re picking up momentum. I think most people generally feel in the House that these programs need to be reformed, not replaced.”
The goal of this whole process, Gruters said, is to help create jobs and expand the access to economic opportunity for all Floridians.
“If we can continue to help families be better providers for their children…that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “Jobs solve a lot of issues, and I think we need to do everything we can to help promote jobs here in Florida.”
To learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on economic diversification and get involved in the Florida Chamber’s fight to make Florida the best business climate in America by clicking here or by contacting Carolyn Johnson.