Visit Florida Sees Possible New Life Under House Amendment, Would Be Given Smaller $25M Budget
By Allison Nielsen, Sunshine State News // February 21, 2017
Enterprise Florida would still be eliminated
(SunshineStateNews.com) – Visit Florida might not be a goner after all. On Monday, Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, filed an amendment to the controversial bill to ax Florida’s tourism agency, Visit Florida.
Under the amendment, Visit Florida would be given a second chance, but would be given a much smaller annual budget of $25 million to make ends meet.
Enterprise Florida would still be eliminated under the amendment.
If passed, Visit Florida would be required to post all contracts on the Chief Financial Officer Transparency website and would have to place proposed contracts work over $750,000 on a 14-day legislative consultation.
If the chair or vice chair of the Legislative Budget Commission, House Speaker or Senate President objected to a contract, Visit Florida would be prohibited from moving further with the contract.
Appointments to be the new president/CEO for the tourism agency would have to jump through an extra hoop to head up Visit Florida — if passed, the Senate would be required to confirm the Visit Florida president/CEO.
The amendment would also freeze benefits and salaries for Visit Florida employees at their current levels. Bonuses would be prohibited.
Speaker Corcoran trashed supporters of the state tourism agency and dared them to meet in the middle — just to see if they’ll budge.
“Since this debate began, the defenders of VISIT FLORIDA have grown increasingly hysterical, complete with their ‘Chicken Little’ predictions of economic collapse, state income taxes, and tens of thousands out of work,” Corcoran said. “I am skeptical that the most vocal cheerleaders of VISIT FLORIDA want anything less than the status quo. So we are going to put that to the test.”
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