Thanks to the efforts of Gov. Rick Scott and the state’s committed business leaders, Florida has one of the strongest economies in the country. With our unemployment rate under five percent, Florida continues to exceed the nation’s annual job growth rate. And tourism — one of the state’s economic drivers — remains strong, with nearly 113 million visitors in 2016, an increase from 86 million just three years ago.
Much of this success has been a result of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The two organizations are responsible for helping create thousands of jobs in conjunction with private businesses, while competing with other states for business and visitors.
But political differences are putting the success of the Sunshine State at risk. Members of the Florida House have filed numerous pieces of legislation taking aim at Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The bills call for drastic cuts or the complete elimination of both public-private partnerships. This would undoubtedly slow down or even reverse Florida’s good economic fortune.
Research from Florida TaxWatch shows that Florida’s targeted economic development incentives via Enterprise Florida have generated positive return on state investment by enticing businesses to bring high-wage jobs to the state and backs up the power of tourism marketing by Visit Florida, whose work could bring millions to the state.
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If the legislature were to make significant cuts to, or eliminate, Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, it will put Florida at an economic disadvantage versus the rest of the nation, stifling job creation and slowing economic development. We must continue to fund our incentive and tourism marketing programs.
Pat Neal, Chairman-Elect for the Board of Directors of Florida