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House committee OK’s rewrite of state economic incentive program

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A series of rewrites to Florida’s economic-incentive programs, a chief priority of Gov. Rick Scott, passed its first House panel Tuesday afternoon.

Lobby Tools reports that HB 1325, from Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd, seeks to establish a new Florida Enterprise Fund, as well as changes in the process of administering economic incentives for businesses to come to Florida.

Several provisions of the bill are similar to a proposal (SB 1646) sponsored by Clearwater Republican Rep. Jack Latvala, including lower return-on-investment (ROI) requirements, and a new incentive process where a Senate President and House Speaker can veto projects costing more than $2 million, rather than requiring approval by the legislative budget commission. Both bills also have provisions preventing businesses from leaving the state for a period after receiving incentives.

One difference between the two bills, however, is the House version does not offer a restructuring of the state’s film incentive program, something sought by Latvala and state Sen. Nancy Detert of Sarasota.

On the other hand, LobbyTools notes the House bill also contains requirements not present in the Senate version – such as an exemption from local concurrency and impact fees for businesses operating in facilities smaller than 12,000 square feet and employ fewer than 12 workers. Local governments will have the option to waive that requirement by majority vote. Although the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties support the majority of the bill, both have expressed “concern” over that provision.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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