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City of Miami Beach, FL

Florida House Cuts Tourism, Economic Development Money

ALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida would only be funded for three months, while Enterprise Florida wouldn’t get any state money as part of a budget proposal released Tuesday by a House panel for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Also left out of the House proposal was continuation of an $85-million-a-year economic-development effort, known as the Job Growth Grant Fund, that was created in a compromise between the House and former Gov. Rick Scott.

Meanwhile, the House would set up a $50 million grant program to offset local and county revenue losses and operating costs from Hurricane Michael, and the state Division of Emergency Management would receive money for 20 new positions.

The House proposal was released Tuesday by the chamber’s Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. It could be changed by the House in the coming weeks and then will be subject to negotiations with the Senate as lawmakers finalize a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Senate proposal that covers similar areas of government and programs will be released Wednesday.

Rep. Jay Trumbull, a Panama City Republican who chairs the House subcommittee, said the $15 billion House proposal “takes care of a significant portion of the majority of issues facing our state.”

House Republican leaders in recent years have opposed funding for Visit Florida and for Enterprise Florida, a public-private economic development agency. Scott, who left office in January, battled to maintain funding for the agencies.

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