Destination resorts legislation gets backing of coalition of construction industry and resort related workers

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On the eve of the 2012 legislative session, representatives of thousands of construction industry and resort related workers today called on state lawmakers and the governor to enact HB 487 and SB 710, the “destination resorts” bill that will create tens of thousands of jobs for Floridians during tough economic times.

“This legislation will create tens of thousands of jobs in Florida, boosting an ailing construction industry with thousands of qualified, but out-of-work workers,” said Carol Bowen, Vice President of Government Affairs, Associated Builders and Contractors Florida East Coast Chapter, Inc. “These jobs would be created immediately, which is why this is so important.”

“Floridians expect our state to be open for business because new and expanding businesses create good paying jobs – especially the proposed $2 billion destination resorts,” said Bob Burleson, President of the Florida Transportation Builders Association. “Leaving jobs on the table in an economy like this would be a huge mistake, and one many Floridians can’t afford right now.”

“The simple truth is that Florida needs more jobs to reduce unemployment,” said Andy Madtes, Secretary of UNITE HERE Local 355. “We represent workers who earn middle-class wages with benefits and job security – exactly the type of jobs that destination resorts will create.”

A diverse group of employers and workers pressed Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to keep Florida open for new business, including members of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Florida Carpenters Regional Council, the Florida Retired Workers Association, UNITE HERE Local 355, the Florida Concrete and Product Association, the Florida Transportation Builders Association, and individual job creators like the owner of a Florida limousine company and the owner of a Florida restaurant.

“This isn’t just about the big guys, huge hotels and convention halls, this is also about all the jobs that come along with a world famous destination resort,” said Gary Reifert, owner of Hollywood Limousine. “More visitors and a better economy will improve business for all of us.”

The resorts bill allows up to three $2+ billion resort casinos, 90% dedicated to non-gaming facilities like restaurants, convention space, and hotel rooms. Under proposed changes, the legislation also taxes revenues at 18%, levels the playing field for pari-mutuals willing to invest $100 million, and shuts down so-called “internet café” casinos operating in strip-malls statewide.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.