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Corporate welfare

Rick Scott: No hard feelings between him and Richard Corcoran

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Chalk it up to “passion.” Or politics. Gov. Rick Scott, speaking to reporters after a Wednesday bill signing, explained away the open tension between him and House Speaker Richard Corcoran after the House this year tried to gut VISIT FLORIDA and do away with economic development organization Enterprise Florida, his two favored state agencies. By the end of the recent Special Session, however, lawmakers agreed to the creation of an $85 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to be controlled by Scott,…

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Rick Scott won’t end fight for economic development, tourism funding

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With the House seemingly intent on gutting VISIT FLORIDA and eliminating Enterprise Florida, Gov. Rick Scott suggested he won’t stop counterpunching. The governor, who spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, has been openly warring with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. He’s been out to kill state government’s business incentives programs. Corcoran counts Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s economic development organization, and VISIT FLORIDA, its tourism marketing arm, as dispensers of “corporate welfare.” Scott says they help create jobs. Though both are public-private…

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House speaker’s ‘corporate welfare’ crackdown runs into Senate roadblock

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Enterprise Florida Inc. could survive 2017 after all. Established in 1996, the taxpayer-funded organization has awarded nearly $2 billion in economic incentives to private businesses to create jobs and boost the state economy. Its record is mixed, and its reputation has been scarred by exorbitant executive pay, high-profile taxpayer losses and a failure to match private funding with public appropriations — a statutory requirement. As a result, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, is spearheading an effort to put the…

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Was Jack Latvala against Enterprise Florida before he was for it?

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Sen. Jack Latvala has backed Gov. Rick Scott in his defense of Enterprise Florida—but that wasn’t always the case. The Clearwater Republican, who now chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, had some choice words for the public-private economic development organization back in 2015. That’s when he was chair of the Senate’s Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations subcommittee. That’s also when the agency, which the House now is trying to eliminate, was seeking more money for its business development efforts. “They’re asking for…

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Rick Scott, Legislature set for an old-fashioned ‘T’ word throwdown

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If there was any uncertainty what the main event will be in the 2017 Florida Legislature, that has been answered. It’s the throw down over the “T” word. In one corner, Gov. Rick Scott is seeking an $815 million increase in public school funding. To help pay for that, the governor wants to use the ongoing spike in property values that is expected to bring in an additional $558 million. In the other corner, House Speaker Richard Corcoran said no…

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Jose Javier Rodriguez files Enterprise Florida reform legislation

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Enterprise Florida business incentives

Enterprise Florida (EFI) would have to hire outside auditors “to verify compliance” of businesses getting incentive money under legislation filed Tuesday. New state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Miami-Dade Democrat, filed the bill (SB 216) on the state’s public-private economic development organization. The legislation, which does not yet have a House companion, would require the organization to then “publish on its website the results of each audit performed by the independent third party within 48 hours after receiving the results,” it says. The…

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Americans for Prosperity goes digital to keep lawmakers in check during holidays

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Much like Santa Claus, Americans for Prosperity Florida will be checking its “naughty list” this Christmas. And if the conservative group gets its way, lawmakers shouldn’t expect too much quiet time during their break before the Legislature convenes next month. “Typically, lawmakers think they can escape the pressures of calls from their constituents to do what is right over the holidays,” AFP-FL Director Chris Hudson said. “They are wrong if they think their actions will escape taxpayers’ attention this year.”…

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