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Bill to kill business incentives, Enterprise Florida cleared for House floor

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business incentives

A House bill that would abolish the Enterprise Florida economic development organization, eliminate a throng of business incentive programs, and strip the VISIT FLORIDA tourism marketing agency down to a barebones $25 million budget cleared its second and final panel Tuesday. That means the measure (HB 7005), OK’d by the House Appropriations Committee on an 18-12 vote, is ready to be considered by the full House when the 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7.  The vote was another hit to Gov. Rick Scott, an advocate…

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Florida House, Rick Scott again at loggerheads over VISIT FLORIDA

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran offered a compromise Monday in his plan to kill the public-private VISIT FLORIDA tourism marketing agency, but Gov. Rick Scott rejected it as a “massive cut.” One day before a bill (HB 7005) aimed at eliminating the organization gets its second and final committee review, an amendment to be offered by GOP state Rep. Paul Renner would save the agency, but slash its budget to $25 million. Its latest budget is nearly $80 million. The amendment also would require the agency submit to…

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Sunshine State has another banner year for tourism

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Florida had another record-setting year for tourism despite natural disasters, a virus outbreak and a tragic attack on an Orlando nightclub. Gov. Rick Scott will announce Thursday at the Brevard Zoo that nearly 113 million tourists visited the state last year. This is the sixth year in a row that the numbers have climbed. Nearly 107 million tourists visited in 2015. Scott will hail the continued growth during a time when the agency that promotes tourism is coming under fire.…

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David Wilkins consulting at struggling VISIT FLORIDA

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David Wilkins, who led the state’s perennially troubled child welfare agency, is now helping new CEO Ken Lawson right the ship at VISIT FLORIDA. An internal email sent Wednesday and shared with FloridaPolitics.com says Wilkins, secretary of the Department of Children and Families under Gov. Rick Scott in 2011-13, is “assisting VISIT FLORIDA in the review of some of our contracts, processes and procedures.” The email was sent to staff by Meredith DaSilva, the state tourism agency’s director of executive operations.…

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Space Florida ‘Steeles’ itself for the winter that’s coming

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Good on you, Jason Steele, for being the first person in the Space Florida boardroom to talk about the elephant. “We have not had a target on our back, but I promise you, and my crystal ball is very clear, the target will be on our back,” Steele told his fellow Space Florida directors, as they reaffirmed a one-million-dollar line of credit for the folks behind a secret-something called Project Ice. For all the public knew, the loan was going…

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Visit Florida housecleaning continues: Rick Scott calls for Will Seccombe resignation, board to publish business

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Gov. Rick Scott called on Visit Florida’s Executive Director Will Seccombe to resign Friday afternoon, continuing a bloodbath at the pseudo-state agency that saw two other top executives fired earlier in the fallout from how it handled a marketing contract with Miami rapper superstar Pitbull. In a letter the governor sent to Visit Florida’s board chairman, Scott called for a complete overhaul of how it does business, telling the board he wants to see it publish details about how it…

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Rick Scott says Visit Florida firings are holding people accountable

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Florida’s beleaguered tourism promoter has fired two of its top executives in the wake of revelations and criticism of a $1 million contract with Miami rapper Pitbull, an action that Gov. Rick Scott said was a matter of holding people accountable. Scott confirmed Friday morning in Eatonville that Visit Florida’s President Will Seccombe has fired Chief Operating Officer Vangie McCorvey and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps. And then the governor called on Seccombe to resign, and Visit Florida Board Chairman William Talbert III to reform…

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