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Politics

Florida House Ramps Up Scott Drama in New Video Slamming Enterprise Florida

February 16, 2017 - 4:00am
Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran
Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran

The Florida House is once again stirring the pot over its plan to kill Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. 

On Thursday, the House released a new video in response to Gov. Rick Scott's statewide tour promoting the agencies, and the video hits home on a dramatic note. 

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, unveiled the video to lawmakers in Tallahassee Wednesday evening. 

The three minute-long video details the “foolish spending” in a variety of areas, including the state’s $1 million contract with Miami rapper Pitbull to promote Florida tourism.

The video also details the Sanford Burnham saga, when a company lured to Florida with over $300 million in incentives decided to jump ship in the Sunshine State after losing millions of dollars in revenue.

The video’s somber music plays on as it details what the House sees as other abuses of taxpayer dollars.

“No more picking winners and losers,” the video reads. “No more taking taxpayers for granted. No more EFI.”

Scott has traveled around the state in a campaign to promote Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, two agencies the governor says bring jobs and tourists to the Sunshine State. House lawmakers, however, believe the spending is excessive for programs they say are "abysmal failures."

Scott hasn't taken the threats lightly. He's called out legislators by name who have voted against the two state entities and insiders say he has threatened legislators' projects if they carry on and send Enterprise Florida and Co. to the slaughterhouse. 

Earlier this week, Scott sent out a series of graphics highlighting the “positive impacts” of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. Days later, the House released the video.

The House clip ends with conservatives’ beloved Reagan talking about getting rid of “unnecessary subsidies” in the business arena.

“There are a number of subsidies to business and industry that I believe are unnecessary, not because the activities being subsidized aren't of value, but because the marketplace contains incentives enough to warrant continuing these activities without a government subsidy,” Reagan says.

Lawmakers spearheading the bill say it's high time to slash wasteful spending that doesn't benefit anyone in the process.

"The longer this debate goes on, the better. Right now..the people who are making the loudest noise are either giving or receiving [to the agencies,]" Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, who sponsors legislation to kill EFI, told Sunshine State News. "When the average everyday Democrat or Republican understands what's going on with their hard-earned money, they're going to be offended."


The legislative session begins in March.

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


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Comments

The Junior Chamber, the House of Representatives: showing immaturity and short sightednesd.

Digital Domain was not supported by Enterprise Florida. Enterprise Florida recommended against supporting Digital Domain and denied them incentives. There’s apparently paperwork to prove this if anybody cared enough about the facts to ask. Incentives for Digital Domain were approved by the Florida Legislature itself, circumventing Enterprise Florida. State Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, inserted the budget amendment that included Digital Domain’s $20 million incentive. It was approved by the Legislature with the knowledge and support of House and Senate leadership, including then Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul. Governor Charlie Crist signed off on that budget in June 2009. The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) revealed that, out of 232 incentive projects over the last three years, 124 of them had to be terminated. This is generally because those companies failed to achieve specific levels of job creation and/or capital investment. Simply put, most companies optimistically think they’re going to do better than they do. HOWEVER, what you’re not being told is that companies do not receive incentives when they fail to perform. Not long after Rick Scott became governor, rules and policies were changed so that incentives were paid in arrears, after performance, as opposed to being paid in advance. That’s why there’s money in state escrow accounts – held back and not paid until after performance is demonstrated and proven. Moreover, companies are required to enter into legally binding performance agreements with the state and those performance agreements contain these “claw-back” or compliance provisions. Efforts are underway to recover incentive funds from Sanford-Burnham. You’re also not being told that Enterprise Florida does not have actual authority over which incentive deals are supported by the state. Nor does Enterprise Florida have authority over deal terms and conditions. They make recommendations but that decision-making authority ultimately rests in the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). DEO is the agency that manages the contract of the not-for-profit Enterprise Florida. Specifically, the authority over incentives resides in the Division of Strategic Business Development. More specifically, that authority rests with DEO’s Bureau of Business and Economic Incentives. If politicians are going to debate the issues, they should have the facts and understand how their government actually operates. All too frequently, honest, earnest debate over policy matters, such as incentives, has been made impossible because of severely distorted political rhetoric and a superficial understanding of the programs, people and organizations. In the worst case, factually incorrect information has been presented. A debate about economic development in Florida could be healthy and productive, but only if its factual and truthful.

As "Willie Shakes" says: "Methinks thee doth protest too much"! (Taxpayers are tired of getting their "pockets picked" at EVERY turn !)

Those are the facts folks. As to the quasi-gov't entity. The percentage of funding by the state is roughly 90%. The 10% private is fine. Let them continue to operate using that money. The rest of the figures that have been published show all of them losing money and no positive return on investment (ROI). In other words, corporate welfare to their friends... Keep up the good work House, Reagan was right and so are you...classic.

Visit Florida is NOT entirely funded by the state - it is a quasi-government entity. This is so misleading...

You know that this video is talking about Enterprise Florida and not Visit Florida?

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