When Florida Cabinet members jetted off to Israel in late May, some state employees who traveled at taxpayer expense stayed in a more than $400-a-night luxury hotel in Jerusalem, where a Cabinet meeting was held.
The House also voted 80-35 to approve a separate measure (HB 9) that would overhaul the structure and contract-reporting requirements of Visit Florida.
Palm Coast’s Rep. Paul Renner continued to defend the proposals, which would cut Visit Florida’s budget to $25 million, as the House bill heads for a floor vote in march, but still without viable Senate support.
Gov. Rick Scott was in campaign mode in a visit to Flagler Beach Monday as he criticized Flagler’s Rep. Paul Renner, a fellow-Republican, for introducing a bill that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
Senate President Andy Gardiner says the $53 million to Enterprise Florida is adequate, with $43 million for incentives and $10 million for marketing.
In 2013, the every-other-year air show drew more than 315,000 visitors, 2,215 international exhibitors and delegations from 102 different countries. The effectiveness of Scott’s trips, however, remains suspect to some.
Enterprise Florida, The state’s economic development agency, is under fire again. This time, a recent report highlighted lavish spending by its staff, which prompted a watchdog group to ask the governor to launch an investigation.
The “Let’s Get to Work” political committee posted $695,447 in contributions from 91 sources during the time Scott was highlighting the state to foreign aviation interests as part of Enterprise Florida’s June 14 to June 21 trade mission to the Paris Air Show.
Gov. Rick Scott’s aggressive economic development effort is getting more legislative pushback as budget committees in both chambers questioned the direction, expense and oversight of the governor’s “jobs, jobs, jobs” agenda.
Questionable bonuses, conflicts of interest and a ‘pay to play’ mentality is hampering taxpayer driven economic development efforts, according to a study conducted by Integrity Florida and paid for by Americans for Prosperity/Florida, a conservative advocacy group funded in large part by the Koch brothers.